Officially entitled “Social,” the Blind Pig (as it is more popularly known) sits above the Social Eating House, chef Jason Atherton’s latest offering (he of Pollen Street Social fame). As the name suggests, the Blind Pig (a colloquialism for speakeasy) adds to London’s speakeasy offerings, which always leads to equal amounts of excitement and trepidation. A good speakeasy is a great find; a bad one is a slave to cliché and can leave you wondering whether you have stumbled into a badly designed stage set. Fortunately, the Blind Pig falls squarely into the former category.
Clue one that the Blind Pig hasn’t succumbed to the “trying-too-hard” school of speakeasy design, is actually finding the place. Head to Poland Street, look for the Opticians sign (we’ll give you a clue, it’s next to the Social Eating House) and you are there. Under the sign is a door with, funnily enough, a blind-folded pig (or is it a boar?) on it, which you simply push, walk through and then head up the stairs. Et voilà. Enough obscurity to keep with the spirit of a speakeasy but none of this “am I actually walking into a squat or is this graffiti covered door, down a dark alley with no sign of life actually the latest social offering?” malarkey. It’s also a refreshing change not to be met at the door by someone with a clip-board and look of aloof determination (a difficult oxymoron to achieve but one that is being increasingly perfected).
We digress, back to the bar. Once upstairs, the bar has a relaxed elegance to it (better photographs are on their website, suffice it to say we visited at the end of the evening and photographic skills were waning…) The Blind Pig stays true to its speakeasy influence, without being a servant to it. In doing so, it avoids the pretension of so many of its counterparts creating a space where people seem comfortable to sit back, unwind and frankly marvel at the cocktail list…
For the star of the show at the Blind Pig is its incredible cocktail list. First up the names: Thermo Nuclear Daquiri, Cereal Killer, Silver Screen and Wi’ Jam’ In to name but a few. The brilliance of these cocktails is not simply their technical excellence and taste (both of which are to be beheld) but the reflection of their names in their presentation. The Daquiri does indeed “radiate” when delivered, Cereal Killer arrived in a glass milk “carton,” whilst the Silver Screen arrives with its very own side of popcorn. This is why the Blind Pig is such a success in our mind, they have created a great aesthetic environment, evocative of its era of influence without being a parody of it, whilst not forgetting to focus on the artistry of the drinks themselves. In this regard, praise needs to be given to the mind behind the mixology Gareth Evans. The Blind Pig really is worth a visit, if for no other reason than to experience this level of thought in a single cocktail menu. For us, it’s a great place to end a night on – where you can savour the last drink or two all served up in a way that certainly provides a topic of conversation.
One final note, we should also mention that the bar seemed to have a decent capacity, meaning that finding a table wasn’t a problem. It also looked like people had reserved a table so that may be an option for those of you wanting to go with a large group.
The facts: The Blind Pig website is here and it can be found at 58 Poland Street, London W1f 7NR. Cocktails average at about £9 each.