American Marketer

Travel and hispitality

Claridge’s hosts bar takeover from New York’s Dead Rabbit

July 31, 2017

Dead Rabbit's edgy New York aesthetic is invading Claridge's bar this August. Image credit: Claridge's


London hotel Claridge’s is getting a taste of New York charm when the Dead Rabbit, an iconic Irish tavern, takes over its bar for a full week.

The takeover sees the Dead Rabbit bringing some of its aggressive and edgy aesthetic to the posh atmosphere of Claridge’s. The hotel will recreate the second floor of the New York bar in the end of August.

Bar takeover
Claridge’s is known for its posh atmosphere and its location in London’s Mayfair neighborhood.

But now, the 5-star hotel is importing some New York irreverence in the form of this week-long bar takeover.

From Aug. 15-22, visitors to Claridge’s will find the bar area completely transformed to recreate the look of Dead Rabbit’s second floor.

The bar is named after an Irish-American gang from the late 19th century that roamed that area of New York, as dramatized in the Martin Scorcese film "Gangs of New York."

Dead Rabbit coming to Claridge's. Image credit: Claridge's

From a rough-and-tumble street gang to a five-star London hotel is quite the leap, but Claridge’s and Dead Rabbit are working to make the transition feel seamless.

Customers can book a sitting for 90 minutes at a time and get a taste of some of the bar’s most famous drinks.

For those that are unable to get a reservation, they can wait in the taproom where they can still enjoy one of Dead Rabbit’s cocktails or a pint of Guinness stout.

The bar at Claridge’s will serve an edited and curated version of Dead Rabbit’s full menu, combining cocktails, beer and food inspired by Dead Rabbit founders Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry’s Irish heritage.

Dead Rabbit is also bringing some of the design elements from its bar, including nightly ragtime piano and a comic book-inspired menu.

Manhattan charm
Claridge’s is no stranger to bringing in outside talent to help liven up its location.

Last year, Claridge’s tapped two of its long-time friends to decorate its Christmas tree.

Apple chief design officer Sir Jony Ive and his friend industrial designer Marc Newson brought their own styles to the iconic tree, following in the footsteps of brands such as Lanvin and Dolce & Gabbana. Positioned in the lobby, the tree typically attracts an audience beyond the hotel’s guests, as Londoners and visitors to the British capital come to Claridge’s to kick off the holiday season (see story).

Luxury and bars are beginning to converge more, as customers increasingly look for luxury experiences in addition to luxury products.

Dead Rabbit cocktails. Image credit: Dead Rabbit

For example, spirits distributor Diageo is looking to forge a more emotional connection with consumers over its upscale Reserve portfolio through the creation of a new position.

Canadian mixologist Lauren Mote has been named the company’s first global cocktailian, a role that will involve creating a deeper appeal for the brand’s spirits by storytelling. Diageo has based what it claims is an industry-first move on other sectors of the luxury industry, bringing the experiential marketing approach to spirits (see story).

With the bar takeover happening at the end of this summer, Claridge’s is looking to provide a unique experience that customers would not be able to get without traveling across the Atlantic to New York, giving the whole event a prestigious flavor.