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Published December 07, 2007

Down the Rabbit Hole
A Hole in the West Village Wall

It's rough out there. Especially in the jungle that is MacDougal Street.

Fortunately, we've found just the place to escape the runoff from the beer pong crowd. Introducing 124 Old Rabbit Club, a spot so unassuming you just might miss it the first couple times. Look for the 124 above an unmarked black door. That's when you'll know to walk down the fire-escape steps and ring the buzzer (speakeasy style) to get inside. Once you're in...you know what to do.

The little white buzzer is to discourage the weak-of-heart, and to make sure you'll have room to maneuver, which is what you really need when you're in an underground beer haunt. Walk past the swath of exposed brick to the shining brass bar, and take in the European Union of rare Belgian, Czech and German brews behind the counter, along with a serious spread of black pilsners—dark, thirst-quenching schwarzbiers—that you'll be lucky to get your hands on without a passport. (Thankfully, exchange rates do not apply.)

And once you've settled in, you can cut the hops with a pretzel bread sandwich, a saltier, toastier version of the usual panino. Our suggestion is the ham and camembert, to quiet down that soft-cheese jones that's been tugging at you all day.

As for the gritty space, it might look familiar to fans of Bourgeois Pig West, but trust us...

It's a completely different animal.
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Lauren Coleman