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Two new spots are defining our drinking in 2013
Tasting Table: Group Leader
The Alhambra Royal from The Dead Rabbit

It might be jumping the gun to make any sweeping declarations, given that we're only a few weeks into 2013.

That said, two new bars located on opposite sides of the country have already set the tone for some very interesting drinking in the months ahead.

In San Francisco, Scott Baird and Josh Harris have opened Trick Dog, a colorful drinking spot that serves all manners of drinks, from bottled cocktails to shots with various backs. In New York, The Dead Rabbitwhich opens next week, is a collage of 19th-century cocktails, immigrant taverns and Irish whiskey, from Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry.

Each concept is thoughtfully singular, but the commonalities spell a sea change for bars to come. From menu design to crowd control to the art of pleasing everyone, here's a deep look inside two trendsetters.

  • The menu: At Trick Dog, guests choose drinks from a wheel of Pantone color swatches. Each cocktail is named for a color, with details about the ingredients running down the card.

  • The menu: The menu at The Dead Rabbit is a small book that took nine months to create. After a list of the cocktails, it offers an illustrated 30-page history of Lower Manhattan.

  • The high-low: Both bars dance between the everyman's bar and the upscale cocktail destination. The Dead Rabbit splits the divide into floors, with a ground level modeled on a boisterous taproom (pictured here), and a second floor with intricate drinks and no standing.

  • The high-low: At Trick Dog, Baird and Harris have embraced casual drink categories in sections titled "High Balls" and "Neat With a Back." The former category brings together a spirit and a soda in combinations like Chartreuse and chocolate soda, or aquavit and Cel-Ray.

  • The wait: In order to avoid disgruntled customers waiting more than five minutes for a cocktail, both bars are pushing bottled booze as a drinkable appetizer. The Dead Rabbit team offers flagons of punch (pictured) on both floors, while Trick Dog's menu includes three offerings of bottled cocktails, including the Trick Dog House Aperitif, an easy-drinking blend of amontillado sherry, Gran Classico and vermouth.  

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Trick Dog 3010 20th St. San Francisco CA 94110 415-471-2999 The Dead Rabbit 30 Water St. New York NY 10004 646-433-7906
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