If there’s one thing people tend to underestimate, it’s the significance of bar menus.

There’s no way to fully comprehend a bar’s story or individuality by observing the external appearance of it. Words bring things to life, so the bar menu can represent the theme and overall intended vibe of a space. New York City is home to thousands of places that prioritize these values, assuring the small spec of land in the vast concrete jungle has real substance and personality to it. More specifically, famed The Dead Rabbit takes part in defining itself through a story-telling menu. The mastermind behind this craft menu is Jillian Vose, beverage director of The Dead Rabbit.

Getting right to the point, Chilled inquired about what exactly makes the menu at The Dead Rabbit unique. Vose emphasized the importance of the comic book style layout, and the literal story that is formed by each cocktail’s name.

The Dead Rabbit Menu

The Dead Rabbit Menu

Diving into the further detail, she gave a brief synopsis on the context of the menu’s characteristics and story. “The bold colors, crazy fonts, and the story itself stand out to the guest,” says Vose. “It’s a bit outrageous to think that in turn for going to a bar, you’d be signing for the introduction of hybrid rabbit man resurrected from his death 100 years later. The comic series evolves, starting with the rabbit trying to regain his footing in New York during the 1970’s.

The Dead Rabbit Cocktail Menu

The Dead Rabbit Cocktail Menu

He returns to an Irish crew, gets betrayed, incarcerated, and eventually comes back for revenge. After achieving vengeance and fleeing, the rabbit ventures to a parallel universe, being reintroduced to his maker, the dark rabbit. The dark rabbit is currently fighting a war for him so he can remain in existence. Honestly, it’s all a bit mad to think this is a cocktail menu.” The exotic nature of the story corresponds with how they want guests to remember their experience.

We were also curious about Vose’s take on what makes menu design such a crucial aspect for bars. She went on to say, “Unique menu design has always been a big part of the DNA of our bar. Storytelling is a huge part of what we do. From the menus, artwork on the walls to the trinkets on the shelves, everything has a reason for being there, and has a story behind it.”

The Dead Rabbit Menu

The Dead Rabbit Menu

Jillian Vose’s tips to creating a standout bar menu design

  1. “Stand out bar designs to me are ones that make sense for the particular bar they’re in.”
  2. “Is the menu accessible to the demographic of guests that are going to the particular bar? For instance, in our taproom downstairs we have a smaller list and straightforward menu for guests. Whereas in the parlor, people are expecting a more intimate style of service and are there to take the time to read through a more complex style of menu.”
  3. “Make the menu navigable if it’s multiple pages. There has to be a rhyme and reason to the flow of it.”
  4. “Do something unique. Menus that stand out are ones that are artistic, ones that are funny, historical, and tell a story.”