Raising the Bar

Raising the Bar with Jack McGarry

HRNI talks to the local bartenders making it big in the global cocktail scene. Featured this month is Jack McGarry, co-founder and operating partner of the world’s best bar The Dead Rabbit in NYC

Raising the Bar with Jack McGarry

Jack McGarry, co-founder and operating partner of The Dead Rabbit in NYC

Raising the Bar with Jack McGarry

Rum & Cola

HOW DID YOU START IN THE BAR TRADE?
I actually got my start because of an argument with my mother and father. I kept asking them for a lend of money without any intention of paying it back and they basically said to me, if you want something in life you have to be prepared to work for it. So my father put me in touch with my cousin to get me start in The Hunting Lodge as a glass washer. I was 15.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I’m inspired daily to be the best version of myself and that’s something we instill in our staff. I’m inspired by people in any field who push themselves to be the best that they be. A book that recently inspired me was Stephen Covey’s, 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. It’s about setting yourself up for success. I love people like Alex Ferguson, Usain Bolt and Serena Williams who constantly push themselves. Ferguson’s has one of my favorite quotes- “What I didn’t do as a manager all my life was look back at the things we’d achieved. I never did that, ever, because I didn’t think it was important. I always thought tomorrow was the most important day.”

WHAT DO YOU ADMIRE IN THE NI BAR TRADE?
I love the talent coming through the scene at the minute. There’s been such a dramatic proliferation of talented bartenders coming through the ranks. However, the downside to that for the NI bar scene is that they’re moving to London. Hopefully, we can create a stimulating enough bar scene to keep our best talent in Belfast.

WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN YOUR CAREER?
For me it’s been dealing with the pressures and stresses of running world-class venues, the staff, the PR aspect, the business, the external and more importantly internal expectations etc etc. I then turned to drink as a coping mechanism and that has been my biggest challenge. I made the decision to give up drink seven months ago. Best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve got total clarity and my hunger for this industry is stronger than ever.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A BAR PERSON WITH ASPIRATIONS?
Find out who the best is in your country or city and make sure you work with them. That’s what I did and it’s served me well.

WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO GO FROM HERE?
Continuing with our mission of bringing the Irish pub into the 21st century with more openings whilst keeping Dead Rabbit, and BlackTail, exciting and fresh. We’re focusing hard at the minute on structuring our company to ensure we have the ability to expand at our own rate. We’re only getting started. The future is seriously exciting.

COCKTAIL RECIPE:
Rum & Cola
1 Dash Orinoco Bitters
1/2 Tsp Fernet
75oz Cola Syrup
1oz Bacardi Facundo NEO
4oz Champagne

Method: built
Glassware: Rocks & Big Rock
Garnish: Lemon Twist
Origin/History: Jillian Vose & Jesse Vida, Blacktail, 2016

 

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