The Blind Pig – Dublin’s best kept secret…

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Back in February, I took Mr Cooksalot to dinner in Beeftro for his birthday, which you can read about here. We had a great meal. What I hadn’t told him was that I had something else planned too – a trip to the Blind Pig.

If you haven’t heard of it, The Blind Pig is Dublin’s most clandestine cocktail bar. It’s set up like a Prohibition-era speakeasy. You must book a table in advance by email, and only then will you be given directions to the location. You will also be given the 4 digit pin code to enter on the door – 2 doors in fact! And a spoken password to let the doorman know you’re not just a random passerby. It’s all very fun and exciting! Something different for a night out.

Even mid week, I thought it would be a great idea to surprise Mr Cooksalot with. I had the table booked for 10pm, and so we left Beeftro just in time to walk up to the secret location. I’m not going to give it away, because it would spoil their speakeasy theme. But I will tell you that once we arrived at the the street, I realised I had read the email wrong and we had gone to the completely wrong street! So we had to walk all the way back down towards Grafton St. (It’s in the Grafton St. area). At this point Mr Cooksalot was completely confused! But it was all part of the adventure…

Once we got to the right street, we approached a black metal doorway which lead to a service lane. Mr Cooksalot was really worried now, as he remembered that a dead body had been found in that lane about 10 years ago! So he was naturally very reluctant to go down there, but down we went…

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There were Blind Pig signs leading the way at this point, so I knew we where in the right place this time. We got to the end of the lane, to another black door with a pin code lock. I entered my pin but it wouldn’t work. I tried again, still no luck. At this rate, I was thinking I wouldn’t make a very good spy! I knocked on the door as well.

On my third try, the pin worked and the door unlocked. Inside was a stairs leading down to the cellar. Mr Cooksalot still had no idea where we were going. The bar man had come out to greet us and stared up at me waiting for the password. I announced, “We’re here for the old lady’s funeral!”. Mr Cooksalot’s face was priceless! The bar man ushered us down and into the bar, which is a converted wine cellar. It began as a pop up but was so successful that it is now a permanent bar, open all week as far as I know. Only one other group of people were there, and it’s a small, cosy space, so we felt like we had the place to ourselves. Very romantic.

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By now Mr Cooksalot was relieved and impressed. The suspense had paid off. He loves jazz and vintage things in general, so he appreciated the whole place. It has been decorated with early 20th Century theme. Old jazz music, that sounded like it could have come from the 1920s, was playing in the background. The menus are plastered into old books, and Art Deco prints line the walls. It’s named after the policemen of the Prohibition that turned a blind eye to the speakeasies of the time. The atmosphere was fantastic. The lighting was very low, as you’d expect, and so I haven’t got many photos to share. But I would be reluctant to anyway, as it would take away from the mystique.

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The menu features cocktails that have a long history, and gives you a bit of background to some of them. I’m not a cocktail expert, but you can tell that a lot of care and expertise has gone into creating this menu. You won’t find any Sex on the Beach here. But you will find a Cosmopolitan inspired by a recipe from the 1800s and a Maple Old Fashioned, familiar cocktails with a twist. We ordered a few different ones. I started off with a Like the Murphys, a Jameson and grapefruit drink with grapefruit bitters and then tried a Ward 8, with Bourbon, orange, lemon and pomegranate. Mr Cooksalot had Bourbon Old Fashioned and then a Rhubarb and Orange Collins.

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They were all delicious, and perfectly prepared. Each of our drinks came served in a different shaped glass, which was a nice eclectic touch. Our bartender was very good – we watched him make each drink with care. Later he offered to make us something else that wasn’t on the menu. He went behind the bar and we watched him carefully mix up this mystery drink in 2 giant cognac glasses.

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He presented them to us and told us to wait a minute before sipping, as the aroma would change. It was so much fun. We waited and then took a sip. He was right, the aroma did change – from citrus to something more cognac-like. He told us it was a Sazerac – which sounded so elegant.

Because we were there on a quiet night, he had the time to make us these special drinks. So I would highly recommend going when it’s not too busy, as apparently it gets packed on Friday and Saturday after midnight, when a DJ comes in. If you like the sound of the Speakeasy-style bar and the Prohibition-era drinks, it’s well worth booking a table earlier in the night or midweek. They had a full food menu and a wine list too, but we didn’t sample them. We can’t wait to go back again – it was the best cocktail experience ever!

You can find all the info you need to book on their website:

theblindpig.ie

 

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