Belfast Telegraph

Belfast duo's New York Dead Rabbit pub reopens after blaze

£300k repairs completed at renowned Dead Rabbit

By Gillian Halliday

A famous New York pub owned by two Belfast men will reopen its doors tomorrow less than three weeks after being badly damaged by a fire.

The blaze at The Dead Rabbit on July 1 destroyed the kitchen and burned some back-of-house areas.

Jack McGarry, who operates the Manhattan hostelry with fellow Ardoyne man Sean Muldoon, said the bar will welcome customers tomorrow after repairs running to hundreds of thousands of dollars were completed earlier this week.

The inferno started in the historic building's kitchen and swept through the rear of the pub, causing extensive damage.

This forced the pair to shut a business that was named the 'best pub in the world' two years ago.

Its owners had pledged they would be back serving customers "sooner rather than later".

Mr McGarry thanked the hard work of contractors, staff and a specialist cleaning firm in helping them to get the bar open again so soon.

"We're lucky that we've had the resources to bounce back from this quickly," he said.

"The fire all-in, not including loss of business, caused between $300,000-$400,000 (£227,000-£303,000) in damage at minimum.

"It could be more.

"It started in the kitchen in a duct, which ran from the bottom to the fifth floor, which was completely destroyed.

"The fire came out of the duct and destroyed the bar's electrical grid.

"It was extensive damage in terms of the structure of the bar.

"We needed to rebuild the bathrooms in the parlour. A lot of equipment was broken or trashed.

"It was obviously devastating, waking up hearing that there's a fire and there's a hundred firefighters outside and both streets are closed off made me think that it was severe."

Mr McGarry explained how it was only thanks to the quick-thinking actions of an employe, who raised the alarm, that a "disaster" had been averted.

"We're grateful that it wasn't worse, and even more grateful that it wasn't worse," he said.

A new kitchen is expected to be installed in two months.

Until then customers at the well-known gastropub will be offered an all-cold restaurant menu.

"It's been a lot of people (involved), but we're in good shape now, and I'm fully confident that we will be open on Thursday," said Mr McGarry.

Belfast Telegraph

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