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124 Old Rabbit Club

Not Rated.
124 Old Rabbit Club124 Old Rabbit Club
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

23 Ratings
Ratings: 23
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 10.98%
Taps: 3
Bottles: 60
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

124 MacDougal St
New York, New York, 10012-1247
United States
phone: (212) 254-0575

view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: slander on 09-16-2008)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 23 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ant4711
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

Ant4711, Jul 08, 2014
Photo of SkiBum22
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

SkiBum22, Jun 20, 2014
Photo of pjs234
4.75/5  rDev +11%

pjs234, Apr 16, 2014
Photo of BethanyB
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%

As the bartender put it the last time I was there, "We're not for everyone, but we don't want to be." You have to know where to look in order to find this bar, which keeps the NYU kids from wandering in after hitting the more conspicuous joints along Macdougal Street.

The bar itself is very much like a rabbit hole. Dark, small, secluded, and perhaps most importantly, below ground level. The walls behind the bar are so densely covered with flyers, notes, stickers, etc., that they're pretty much indiscernible, but you can still make out the rabbit theme, particularly from the large murals on the opposite wall.

Not the best place to judge a beer's appearance, since a candle needs to be lighted for each and every guest in order for them to be able to read the handwritten menu. The beers are almost all Belgian and German imports, but are all selected with extremely loving care, and still manage to be much more diverse and unique than those of any other Belgian beer bar in Manhattan (I'm looking at you, Vol de Nuit!).

You're likely to be one of two or three people in there during the week. On weekends, there is a slight chance you won't get a seat at the bar. In other words, despite the small size, this place doesn't get too crowded. Mostly because the only people who know how to even find it are beer enthusiasts, which definitely adds to the appeal.

The bartenders are not at all pretentious, and are more than willing to either gently and capably steer customers in the right direction, or to learn from them! They are always pleasant.

I'd make this a regular hangout spot if prices weren't so high. Be prepared to be a bit taken aback by the dollar amounts, but be sure to stay for a drink or two anyway. You'll be glad you did, and you'll likely get to try something new and fascinating.

BethanyB, Nov 01, 2013
Photo of dbrauneis
3.31/5  rDev -22.7%

I did not have the highest expectations for the place - it had a door with a rabbit outline painted on it and stickers saying they open at 6:00 PM (no sign). It is at the basement level and it was dark and extremely loud (kind of reminded me of parties thrown in people's basements when I was in high school). When I say it was dark, I mean that you needed to use two candles and could still barely read the menu. It was so loud that you could not carry on a conversation - and the music was 1980s metal. It was crowded on a Friday evening but the crowd was young (being located right by NYU, I guess this should not have been a surprise)...it made me feel old and slightly out of place.

Since all they had were bottles, the beers I ordered were all in code... The bartenders did pour the beers into proper glassware with pretty nice pours and proper amounts of head - I saw chalice, tulip, pilsener, and snifter glasses in use.

When I said the place was loud before, I meant that it was so loud that it was almost impossible to order... I ordered and got the wrong beer initially because the bartender could not hear when and then after yelling what I wanted a couple of more times, I had to point it out on the menu but it was so dark he had trouble reading it - kind of frustrating. I have no idea how knowledgeable the staff at this place is because there is little chance that you could ask for recommendations.

The place had a pretty decent beer list with a good selection of Belgians - I was actually pleasantly surprised and I was able to find a couple of different beers that I had wanted to try but had not yet picked up when shopping for home consumption.

dbrauneis, Oct 23, 2013
Photo of metter98
3.33/5  rDev -22.2%

Vibe: This place doesn't catch people that are merely passing along the street - it's located in the basement and doesn't have any signs on the outside wall other than a painted rabbit and "6 pm" signifying the opening time. Once inside, you'll find a very dark atmosphere with music blaring so loud that it feels like you are at a rock concert and it is hard to carry on a conversation. The clientele mostly seems to be college students from NYU.

Quality: Beers were served at the proper temperature using a variety of glassware.

Service: With two bartenders working in the small place, it didn't take too long to catch the attention of one of them but the loud music makes it difficult to order unless you scream it out.

Selection: The place has a few beers on-tap and about 50 different bottled beers.

metter98, Oct 19, 2013
Photo of Evan47
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Rabbit Club is an amazing "den" for beer drinkers. I call it a den, because it truly is. If 10 people were in this bar it would crowded. They do not have much in terms of draft beers, but they have an extensive bottle menu. They also have very high quality Belgian styles and great IPA's.... perhaps a little pricey, but you have to keep in mind you are in manhattan after all....great neighborhood also.... when you are done drinking go across the street and get an awesome falafell from Mamouns

Evan47, Dec 15, 2012
Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%

Finally made it to the Rabbit Club with a beer-loving friend of mine. The place is a true speakeasy, so easy to miss... open the door and enter this gritty-sweaty-dark club that could easily double as a sex dungeon. The place looks like CBGB, not that much cleaner. Nice African music playing, though, and a helpful bartender. The place was empty at 6:30pm on a Tuesday, except for two patrons.

Only three taps (disappointing): Smutty Pumpkin, Avery White and Smutty Brown.

The deal is in the bottles, of course. The list is divided in three sections: Belgian (including Mikkeller, Evil Twin, Troubadour, Chouffe, Rochefort), English (Fuller´s, Harviestoun, Lion, Samuel Smith) and German (Ayinger, Leipzig Gose, Schneider).

A little pricey and way too European-focused and bottle-exclusive overall. Had real trouble finding a beer I actually wanted to try. I like American craft drafts so this joint just does not suit me.

The place is way too dark and damp for my taste. We were sweating in late September... no windows or light.

Glad I tried it but would not come back.

DoubleSimcoe, Oct 27, 2012
Photo of ghostly
3.63/5  rDev -15.2%

I wish I had the flawless experience of most others here, but I had a few issues. The atmosphere of the place is great, it doesn't get overrun with a bad crowd, and the selection features quite a few good Belgian choices (several sours, for instance.) However, they showed a few mistakes. First, I ordered a zwickl lager, and noticed it was 3 months past its best before date. Second, I ordered an Aventinus, and he brought the eisbock, claiming it's basically the same beer. No. Later, I ordered a Weihenstephaner Original, and he brought me the same old zwickl lager from earlier in the night, already opened, saying nothing. I also find it a little cruel to feature a range of ABV from Tetley's (around 3.5%) to Malheur (around 12%) without listing that. I wasn't impressed, particularly with this one bartender. But it'd be easy to have a good time here.

ghostly, Aug 19, 2012
Photo of sholland119
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%

stoppd in here after dinner at Half Pint 12/10/11,

Knowing this was a speakeasy type of joint, we were on the lookout for an alleyway or dark corner to find this place. Helpfully, yelp has the key words "black door" for this place. We easily found the plain black door down from street level with small peel and stick letters and numbers indicating we had found it.

Inside the place is dark and narrow, with two tables, a booth at the back and a log bar with room for about 20. Loved the gritty vibe. Three beers on tap (Racer 5 and Founders Breakfast Stout among them), about 30 bottles. Great selection of domestic crafts and great imports.

Service was terrific. We had a great time. Worth seeking out.

HV

sholland119, Dec 11, 2011
Photo of mrcarterxxl
4.95/5  rDev +15.7%

my little secret i dont know if i want to share, its yuppie free.
good luck finding my speak easy! lol

this place is for serious beer lovers not for your natie light lovin friends .
cool small neighborhood spot which is rare in nyc with a long list of belgian, German, british, American ales.
and plenty of beer geek chicks who live in the neighborhood if you catch my drift ;)

prices are so good that you might stay a while and sit more than you wanted to,and the crowd is friendly. i recommend sitting in the back booth.
theirs a surprise in the bathroom!

mrcarterxxl, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of indiapaleale
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Want to have a few Belgian/British/German beers in a place that many New Yorkers don't even know about - well, this is your place.

Three drafts - all locals - and a long list of Belgian/British/German bottles make this place a definite destination if you're in NYC and looking for a beer destination that might be a bit off the beaten path.

Service is great, just ask for some assistance on ordering and you'll get it. The bathroom is a shrine to the almighty Mannekin Pis and one of the best beer bathroom in the city!

The atmosphere is rather dark and candle-lit with some great indy music going on - think The Smith and The Cure.

The bottle list is great with lots of hard to find Belgians and Germans available and served in the proper glassware.

No food available but Moumouns falafels are available at $2.50 a pop across the street - as is the comedy club made famous in the intro of Louie.

Awesome little place that you'll probably need to know about before stumbling across it by accident.

Enjoy. I sure did.

indiapaleale, Oct 05, 2011
Photo of ShaneThePain
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%

I love this place. Probably one of my favorite Manhattan beer stops. Can be hard to find, but recently they put a little more "signage" on the door. Boo, take it down. Don't even give em the slightest hint it's there unless they're lookin for it. Then it's ok.

Dark, small, loud at times, but that's cool as the tunes kill. Bout 3 taps, always good stuff and 50+ bottles of mostly Belgian/EU beers. Last visit was a Evil Twin-a-thon and they were so good. No food, so eat beforehand or bring something with you.

Staff is top notch. Been here lots and service is always flawless. Remember to take a piss before you leave...

ShaneThePain, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of sketchpunx
4.88/5  rDev +14%

What can i say about the Rabbit club that hasn't already been said? Might just be the best Beer bar in NYC right now. Bold statement, I know, but if you are a fan of Belgian, German, and English beers, appreciate proper storage and care of products and like a staff that really knows their shit, then this place is king in NYC.

The Club is tucked away, or hidden on purpose in the middle of the chaos that is McDougle st. Just pay attention to address and You'll find it no sweat. It's really little more that an old school basement dive bar, but with awesome beer. The music and clientele are always a bit more hip than the rest of the neighbor hood, and you get the sense that it's a real in the know kinda joint.

The beer list is about 60 deep and heavy on Belgians, with many more obscure classics dominating the menu. Beers are always well kept, and all the bartenders are friendly and happy to talk beer with you.

Really what makes this one of, if not the top spot for Belgian beer in NYC is the passion that this joint exudes. I can always tell a spot where the owner cares about the beer they are selling and the atmosphere they are providing. Too often I have ended up at a supposedly great beer bar only to find old or improperly cared for beer that tastes like shit, an inept staff who care nothing about beer, overpriced products or just a really ho-hum selection (seriously, I can Get Duvel and Chimay in any Bodega guys...) .

Definitely Vying for my overall top beer bar in NYC. This place has it!!!!

A+

sketchpunx, May 07, 2011
Photo of citrusjim
4.06/5  rDev -5.1%

In NYC for a weekend, looking for a pre-dinner beer, we tried the 124. What a great spot. Hidden away down some dark stairs, with no real sign that you were there. There were many Belgians to choose from although I can't remember if there were any rarities. The beers were served nicely in proper glasses by a friendly bartender. A mix of locals were in the, not to crowded, bar. I did not see any food on offer. I will certainly be back on another trip to NYC. Also, the candlelit shrine in the mens room is something to see!

citrusjim, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of Jiggamyte
3.83/5  rDev -10.5%

I have made the trip to NYC for two consecutive small pub crawls now and this beer bar has been the last stop both years. The bar is a small and unassuming hole in the ground. So much so that people are more than likely driven away by this fact. No tv's, very little light, and not much room for more than 20 people.
The result is a small bar with louder than normal music, usually the music the bartender is playing from his ipod, with a number of tasty Belgian beer to try. There are some others, some English, Scottish, and some German. Don't let this small sample of other European brews fool you. The size of the Belgian list dwarfs them in comparison, maybe about 40 total. On tap as of May 30th, 2010 there are a few domestic craft brews, of which, the Bear Republic Racer 5 was my last beer of the night.
I have a small affinity for bars like this and find it small and refreshing instead of trying to overwhelm you with thirty taps and a number of bottles the likes that most people cannot pronounce the names to. I enjoy spending time in The Old Rabbit Club and find that the people I bring to NYC to crawl with me enjoy it just as much as myself.

Jiggamyte, Jun 03, 2010
Photo of Mudstone
4.55/5  rDev +6.3%

Our second attempt at locating this establishment was a success. Don't be fooled by the Ethiopian restaurant next door. They both have the same address. It's a black basement door with a small "124" above it on the door frame. We walked into the Rabbit Club being two of six people there on a Monday night. It was dimly lit with the bottom of beer bottles holding candles on the bar. The basement brick walls with paint peeling off made for some down-to-earth atmosphere. The bartender was quick to greet us with a warm smile and some beer menus. With over 100 beers to choose from a minimal wine list (4 wines), it was a daunting task to choose which delectable brews we wanted to drink. After a long day of beer bar hopping, I have honestly forgotten what we chose. I can tell you that there wasn't a single beer on the list that I would've snubbed my nose to, though.

We had read some review on the web that they served pickle platters. At the moment, all that they had were pickled eggs. At home, this is my hobby, pickling eggs. After trying both styles of eggs, I realized that I have never put something more awful in my mouth. Horrifying. Now I know why some people can't stand the thought of a pickled egg. After letting the bartender know how we felt about the pickled eggs, my wife and I assured him a second visit in the near future bearing gifts of our homemade pickled eggs with a sweet brine and smoked habaneros and serrano peppers.

Even though we had a bad taste in our mouth, no pun intended, we felt that 124 Rabbit Club was the best establishment that we visited that evening. I will have to say that they had some pretty tough competition. The atmosphere, great conversation with the bartender, the low lighting, music and beer selection made that bar feel like home. If we lived in that neighborhood, that would be our nightly spot.

Mudstone, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of punkindrublic50
4.84/5  rDev +13.1%

This is unquestionably my favorite beer bar in New York. First off the appearance - a dirty, almost unmarked stairway down to a small dim basement. It is the definition of subverted. Quietly played great music (instrumental hip hop, etc), discrete, totally unassuming. Then you see the tap and bottles list. They consistently have some of the rarest and most hyper-exotic beers you will ever have the pleasure of tasting. Bartenders are great, and considering there are usually only a dozen or so people down there you can shoot the breeze and pick their brains all you want. Suggestions by them have never let me down. The beers are a little pricey, but throw a good tip the first round and they'll usually toss in a few freebies later in the night. You're paying for quality here.

If you live in the greater Manhattan area this is definitely a place to stop by at least once. Be careful though with their hours - I believe that they don't open until around 5pm.

punkindrublic50, Apr 14, 2010
Photo of sleazo
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%

Tucked away in behind an unassuming doorway on busy MacDougal Street lies a small bar that is more than meets the eye. With no sign to greet people it can be a bit hard to find. However when you step through the unmarked black door, you are somewhat transported back in time. It feels very old school NY. The bar is long and narrow with some tables up front but is housed in what looks to be somewhat of a covered alleyway(though it is not). Low lights and the bricks of the building give this a sort of film noire atmosphere. The bathroom completes the effect with a beer shrine near the toilet.

the selection is mostly beer and mostly Belgian bottles with a few wine choices thrown in. This is a serious beer lovers selection of Belgian brews. This is not your typical run of the mill Trappist, Leffe type Belgian beer bar we have in NYC. On the nights I have been there I can usually try beers I have never heard of and in a wide array of styles. I would rattle off the names of some of these but each time I have been I ended up not remembering.

The bartenders are helpful and knowledgeable to boot. The service is good, though I do feel sorry for them when a group of drunken college kids wander in at 1030 to chug beers they don't have. Apparently the lack of signage does not always work.

The only drawback here is the price. It can get pretty expensive but I was ordering rare beers.

Worth a shot in the West Village.

CASH ONLY

sleazo, Sep 22, 2009
Photo of m1ked
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%

cool tucked away dark drinking spot. easy to overlook/walk by without noticing. black door down a couple steps off the hustle of macdougal st. dark as hell. good selection of euro beers (belgium, germany, england, scotland) . most small format beers are 8-10 bucks...not the place to throw down a bunch of beers (for me at least). tiny hallway of a bar that can get loud as hell. if you are looking for an off the macdougal st bar with good ass beer that will cost you with no frills whatsoever...here you go. I can see me getting down here to mow through there list... 1 by 1 though, not on the weekend.

m1ked, Jul 23, 2009
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%

The first time I ventured forth to visit the Rabbit Club I missed it. Seeing the address, and a Thai restaurant or something up the steps, I'd thought they'd closed. They hadn't. And in retrospect, it probably wouldn't have mattered anyway as it was early afternoon and they might not have even opened yet.

My second trip found success, and to my surprise, much more than I'd expected of a subterranean tap.

It was much more comfortable than I'd expected, although truly catacomb-like in many ways, but the bar is nice, the bartender was friendly and knowledgeable, and it wasn't nearly as cramped or crowded as I thought it might be on a Saturday evening. There's also a table at the back that's a little more open if you're feeling a little pinned-in.

Additionally, the Mannekin Pis shrine in the bathroom is quite awesome. There's a certain vibe to it with its glowing, shimmering 'candle-light behind bars' look that just matches the whole place. Very nice.

As to the beer, well you can't really go wrong there either! 3 taps, all Belgian, all Good. During my visit: La Chouffe ($8), Steen Brugge ($8), and Rodenbach Grand Cru ($10). Beyond that the bottles are divided into 5 categories: Belgian, German, Baltic Porters, English-Irish-Scottish, and Swiss. There are roughly 70 in all. The prices are just slightly elevated, but not by much, and they run from $7 to $12 for standard bottles (although there are a couple of $14's), and up to $48 for larger bottles, with Cantillon-Lamvinus topping that.

Some stand-outs included: Burton Bridge Empire IPA from England, Leipziger Gose Bier from Germany, and Ichtems Grand Cru (Oud Bruin) from Belgium. I've also been quite captivated by some of the beers recently brought in by 12% Imports and they had several of them available- Eerwarde Pater, HIK Blonde, everything by La Botteresse, Sint Canarus Tripel, and 'T Gaverhopke Blonde & Extra - so I was quite happy with that!

Wine is available as well, but at a bit more cost. There are 4 reds, 3 whites, and 2 sparkling.

And since they don't serve food, you can bring your own in. It's kind of like a BYOB in reverse! Keep in mind, it's also CASH ONLY!!!

A most unique bar! There are other basement bars, but very few with quite the same feeling that teeters between subtle creepiness and comfort. Worth seeking out!

NeroFiddled, May 05, 2009
Photo of rbouton
4.14/5  rDev -3.3%

Tough to find,unless you know the address and are on a mission to find it. Head down a steep staircase to an unmarked black door. Enter what seems to be an old speakeasy at one time. Maybe even a bomb shelter. Very dark. Candles needed to read the extensive beer menu from all over Europe. Guess the rarity of the beers and NYC location warrant the prices($6-16 per beer). Great selection. Many beers I have never heard of. Staff was helpful in making selections. Price and time of night limited me to 1 choice(old engine oil) which was great.
Highly recommend if you're in the NYU area of NYC.

rbouton, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of slander
4/5  rDev -6.5%

All in the golden afternoon, full leisurely we glide...

MacDougal. Enough said. NYU know what I'm talking about. I mean, it's right there, shadow of the park, all that. Don't get me wrong. I did my days of nickel bags in the park, Peculier and the peanut butter store, but thems was a different time. Ago. Past tense. Way past tense. Something new in this neighborhood now just throws up flags for me. Add to that a good recommendation from (Evil) Davo, and it reinforces its being suspect, yes, in need of some investigatin'...

"The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well". I kind of thought the entrance was going to be something like that, or at least covertly speakeasyesque (which it was until the anti-fun city people came and told them they had to mark the place), but the address was printed above and down the steps, the door open below, quite easy to find. Inside, the long "L" shaped bar, stained copper topped and fat black wood lipped, winds to the rear. Seating for about 18 there and a bit more fore and aft otherwise.

Subway tile barback wall with a logo rabbit placard between pillars there, and a graffitied up mirror and paneled sections. Glassware and wines on the barback, bottled selections in a center glass front cooler below, and taps from a kegerator down further a bit with much shelved appropriate glassware. Exposed brick and block on the opposite wall, with windows cut through to some sort of nothing nowhere between the buildings, the bartender called it the garden (you'd have to see it). Crazy gothic wallpaper in black & whitish to rear. Newly pressed tin ceiling, drop bulbs over bar, chandelier lighting to the front and rear, and candles in cut ½ bottle bottoms on the bar.

3 taps on the 'rator (LaChouffe, St. Bernardus Witbier & Prior 8). And the bottled list, interestingly all imports with a nice collection of Belgians, some 2 dozen of them (Cantillon, DeRanke, DeDolle, Orval, Chimay, Achel, Chouffe, Rochefort, Westmalle, Maredsous, St. Bernardus, Val-Dieu, Malheur, Rodenbach, Boon, Duvel, Christoffel, Ichtegems, Lindemans), plus another 3 dozen split even between German and English/Irish/Scottish. Some Summer specials too, and also a dozen wines. Appropriately pricey for the wares, so bring cash, as it's the only way they play.

Subterranean, and not as pretty as some, but the beer's here. Small and tight, though I'm not feelin' it so much just now. No, it's strangely comfortable, nicely chill on this quiet afternoon. Oh, and the crazy ass gated candle lit shrine in the bathroom, the peeing cherub statue amidst a sea of corks and caps, yeah, that's a scene to be seen.

Thus grew the tale of Wonderland...

slander, Sep 16, 2008
124 Old Rabbit Club in New York, NY
94 out of 100 based on 23 ratings.