The Blind Pig is one of London’s best kept secrets. It’s a speakeasy bar in Soho hidden above Michelin starred restaurant Social Eating House and if you don’t know it’s there you will definitely miss it. The entrance is an unassuming black door but the clue is the pig’s head knocker on the door. Push open the door, go up the stairs, and you’ll find yourself in the right place. When it’s busy (most of the time), there’s a bouncer on the door who’ll want to ID you before you can go in. He may even have to radio up to see if there’s space for you! For a secret bar this place is pretty damn crowded most of the time.
As you walk up the stairs, the first thing you see is a giant red neon sign which reads:
He watched from his mountain walls
And like a thunderbolt he falls
– The Eagle
Leading with a quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson himself, you know you’re in for a literary treat at The Blind Pig.
The bar has a relaxed, Speakeasy vibe with lots of wood panelling and quirky decorations. As soon as you walk up the steps from busy Soho into The Blind Pig, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back to the Prohibition era. There are plenty of seating options so it’s great for first dates, couples and groups – but you’ll probably need to make a reservation well ahead of time if you’re hoping to visit at the weekend. I had to drop by The Blind Pig at their lunch time closing time of 2:30pm on a Thursday afternoon in order to get these shots of the empty bar, usually it’s so crowded there’ll be people standing around any piece of available furniture, desperately waiting for table.
They’ve got a huge range of different spirits and drinks on the menu, but what’s special about The Blind Pig is their literary-themed cocktail menu. This includes twelve special cocktails inspired by children’s literature, most of which will be amongst your childhood favourites. There’s a drink inspired by Peter Rabbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter, The Hobbit, The BFG and more! My friends and I have tried every single literature-inspired cocktail on the menu and here are our thoughts!
The very hungry caterpillar’s 5 a Day
This drink consists of multicoloured cubes of frozen fruit juice with a shot of tequila. There’s an optional amount of lemonade to pour over the top if you’d like to water it down a little. This concoction is good for slow drinking and conversation, but not good if you want to get right to it and down your drink. It’s sweet from the fruit juice, but the tequila provides a bit of a tang and there’s a gummy worm to top it all off! With one apple, two pears, three plums, four strawberries and five oranges this drink is true to the children’s tale that inspired it and part of your 5 a day.
Jermima Puddle-Duck’s Fowl Play
This cocktail has to be the fanciest vodka orange you can find in London. It’s based on duck fat washed Aylsbury Duck vodka (anyone care to explain what duck fat washed means?) with added blood orange and spices. The orange is tangy but there’s definitely a drop of honey in here to sweeten the deal.
Pooh’s Hunny Pot
Pooh’s Hunny Pot is my personal favourite, not least because it comes in a hunny pot with the “n” spelt backwards and all! With Bacardi, mead, cider brandy, honey and orange blossom, this cocktail doesn’t sound like something that should work but somehow it just does. Topped with a vegetarian Percy pig and a piece of honeycomb, this drink is for those with a sweet-tooth.
Peter Rabbit’s ABC Fizz
Peter Rabbit’s cocktail is expertly presented and looks like it’s just come from Mr McGregor’s vegetable patch (miniature carrot and all), though it takes the vegetable flavours a little too far. Containing fennel seed vermouth, apple soda, beetroot, carrot, citrus and celery sugar, there are a heck of a lot of vegetable ingredients in this one. If you’re on a health kick but still looking to get down then perhaps you can deceive yourself into thinking this ABC Fizz is actually just part of your juice detox.
Paddington’s Lost and Found
Paddington’s Lost and Found is one of my absolute favourites on the menu simply because of the adorable note that comes attached to your cocktail. It reads: “Please look after this bear”. Be still my beating heart! This is a marmalade flavoured cocktail so if you don’t like oranges, definitely avoid this. I love the attention to detail as this drink even comes with a small triangle of toast! Paddington himself will love this when he grows up.
Mr Tumnus’s Tumnus Tipple Delight
A favourite amongst my friends, this tipple is shamelessly sweet and comes served beautifully with a single rose petal and a whole shard of ice. It has white chocolate and vanilla flavours (not sure how they got that piercing blue colour!), but it’s not not too sweet, it’s just right.
Fans of the Chronicles of Narnia will want to check out my literary tour of Oxford, which features some real-life locations in Oxford that inspired C S Lewis, including Mr Tumnus!
The BFG’s Dream Jar
BFG’s dream jar isn’t nearly as beautiful as it sounds, presented in a simple jar with some foam on top. It’s also worth noting that it really is very green. This cocktail is good if you like cucumber, because pretty much all you can taste is cucumber. However, the meringue foam is impressive but, again, the prominent taste is cucumber.
Baggins’ Shire Brew
If you’re not the biggest cocktail fan or are looking for something a little more low-key, then Baggins’ Shire Brew is the drink for you. It’s made up of Johnny Walker whisky and cider so it’s a potent combination but the bitterness is offset by the meadowsweet. The presentation is nothing special, it’s just a small glass tankard of red liquid, but I’m sure Bilbo would’ve preferred this low key beverage to some of the more extravagant options on this menu.
Harry Potter’s Best Bottle Butter Bitter
Of course, the Harry Potter item on the menu was the one I was most excited for, but unfortunately I think it’s also my least favourite! It’s a beer-based concoction, which isn’t to my tastes, but there’s also some butterscotch for added sweetness. It comes in a brown paper bag in keeping with the prohibition theme though this is a little disappointing as I thought they could’ve brought more magic to this Harry Potter cocktail. This one will be great for people that really just want a beer but are also open to jazzing things up a bit.
If you’re a fan of Harry Potter, check out these Harry Potter filming locations in Oxford.
Augustus’s Chocolate River Punch
The chocolate punch is not the most attractive service as it just comes in a miniature milk bottle, but it’s alcoholic chocolate milk. What more do you want from life? With bourbon, dark chocolate and chocolate milk this is a wonderfully rich drink that Willy Wonka himself would be proud of.
Tigers’ Tea For Two
Again, the presentation here isn’t as snazzy as some of the other cocktails, it’s served in a simple glass tea cup, but it does contain Moet champagne so it’s still fancy af. It does contain cilantro (i.e. coriander), which I absolutely loath, so this will likely be a love or hate flavour for most.
Mr Benn’s Poached Peach Pudding
The poached peach pudding drink has a fruit salad flavour that errs more on the side of alcohol than fruit. It tastes delicious and it’s the cheapest thing on the menu at only £8 per cocktail. Basically it’s a bargain and a another great way to get your 5 a day.
Of course, The Blind Pig also serves all the usual alcoholic drinks and cocktails too but I seriously judge anyone who opts for a simply mojito instead of one of these fabulous literary cocktails. I found these unique cocktails to be a little hit and miss with some being absolutely amazing and others being quite average.
This obviously comes down to personal preference so I’d recommend spending some time poring over the menu on your first visit here to really suss out what each drink contains. They cost £10-12 on average so they are fairly pricey and you don’t want to end up disappointed!
The Blind Pig has a cool but relaxed atmosphere that you can’t help but fall in love with. Speakeasys were illicit establishments that sell alcohol so it’s very fitting that this is a secret bar in London. Indeed, “blind pig” is another term for a Speakeasy! The Blind Pig is not one to miss in London, though it would be wise to try and make a booking in advance (sometimes a few weeks in advance!), if you want to get the best seats.
To top it all off, the bar staff are friendly and welcoming, always willing to offer their suggestions on what you should drink and topping up your water glass. Drink responsibly, after all!
58 Poland Street
Average cocktail, £10-12
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