OC’s worst kept secret: The Blind Rabbit speakeasy whiskey bar

Christmas of 2015, I was reintroduced to a decade of love, lust, and lavish parties. My cousin gave me The Beautiful and the Damned by F.Scott Fitzgerald, and I instantly fell in love with a decade of no inhibitions and indulgences. I longed to go to Paris, and I dreamt of nights sipping whiskey sours in dark smokey lounges. But, I neither drink whiskey sours, or hung out in dark smokey lounges. After reading a few of Fitzgerald’s novels, late night drinks and jazz music sounded very appealing.

OC’s The Blind Rabbit speakeasy whiskey bar

I could not go to Paris, but I could find a prohibition 1920s inspired whiskey bar to live out my day dreams in. When we moved to Orange County, we discovered that the bar scene in OC is more divey than 1920s glam. You are more likely to find an older gentlemen who just got off his route at the bar, than a Princeton grad discussing the decline of good writing. Alas, after a few months of searching for speakeasy bars in OC, we stumbled upon one by accident.

Finding The Blind Rabbit whiskey bar

You see, the first time we visited the Packing District we noticed a man come out of a door. Though, the door was disguised a decorative wall of sake barrels. Thinking nothing of it, we continued to eat our shabu shabu. Then a group of girls approach the door and a woman led them inside.

“Ok. What’s the deal?” We asked our waiter at Rolling Boil.

“That’s our speakeasy.” He said, nonchalant.

My fiance and I looked at each other, both with a grin. We paid our tab and hopped over to the woman who had let the group of girls in earlier.

Blind Rabbit whiskey bar

“Two for the speakeasy, please.” As we blinked anxiously for her to open the faux door of sake barrels.

“Do you have a reservation?” She replies, as we see her dragging down the list on her iPad.

“No? Do we need one?”

“Yes, reservations for The Blind Rabbit can be made online through Yelp only and we have a very strict dress code.” She says as looks at us like we obviously had no idea what we were asking for.

Getting into The Blind Rabbit

We went home and got on yelp to make a reservation for The Blind Rabbit whiskey bar, in which an email alerted me of the rules and dress code. I now understood why the hostess judged our outfits when we thought we could just walk right on in. We scheduled our first time at OC’s not-so-secret speakeasy whiskey bar for the following weekend.

Upon arrival, we were led through the sake barrel doors and instantly had a moment where our eyes struggled to adjust to the darkness. The different in atmosphere between The Blind Rabbit at the Packing House outside is really night and day. Inside the whiskey bar is like being a warm blanket by the fireplace on a cold winter night. While, just outside the doors is a summer barbecue and the whole town was invited.

blind rabbit OC speakeasy bar

We were seated at the bar, which was just small enough for a lamp, our drinks and a plate of food. Looking around, my eye goes straight to the shelf of books in the corner, then across the antique sofa and over to the piano that is sitting under a layer of knickknacks and more old books. This is heaven.

What to order at The Blind Rabbit

  • Duck confit mac n’ cheese
  • Black Magic – Gin, lemon soda, basil and blackberry (pictured)
  • Frank’s First Time – Gin, hibiscus lime, elderflower tonic
  • Irish Stone – Iris whiskey and peach bitters

prohibition whiskey bar OC

Going back my dream of experiencing the expat life of the great America writers of the 1920s, I felt like this was as close as I could get. Behind the bar, the bartender pipes smoke into what looks like a large glass cake stand that has an old fashioned sitting inside. The piano player is making jokes about current events, that no one is really listening to because we are enjoying the company we have sitting across from us. You don’t have service, the lighting is intimate, and the space is only big enough for about 20 people max. When you grab drinks at The Blind Rabbit, you are really leaving your day-to-day distractions for a new humbling experience.

Tips for eating at OC’s The Blind Rabbit Whiskey Bar

  • Make your reservation on Yelp.
  • No more than 6 people can be in your party — it’s a small place, duh.
  • Arrive early to find parking, or pay the $3 and do valet.
  • Don’t dilly dally, if you are 15 minutes late to your reservation you will lose it.
  • READ THE DRESS CODE DETAILS.
  • Skip eating food at The Blind Rabbit, it’s expensive and the portions are small.
  • No flash photography. It ruins the ambiance.

The Blind Rabbit Blind Rabbit speaksy bar

I brought my little brother to The Blind Rabbit for his 21st birthday. I didn’t tell him where we were going, but he was in awe of the Packing House’s many activities and goings-on. Then I bring him down to the sake wall and tell everyone to hand over their IDs.

My mom starts off with, “You brought your brother to get hotpot for his 21st birthday?”

I say, “Just give it a minute, mom.”

The hour strikes 7 PM and the hostess ushers her to follow her as she opens the fake sake barrel wall. I turn around to see my brother smiling. He was not expecting that at all. Points for the sister, yay! We get seated at our table and even my mom and dad are ogling the decor and just bobbing their head to the tunes being pounded away on the piano. That night, I got a very hefty bill. If I didn’t know better, I would think that this wasn’t my little brother’s first time drinking.

The Blind Rabbit whiskey bar

All-in-all, I have nothing but lovely experiences at The Blind Rabbit. Even when my fat ass broke one of their beautiful antique chairs, they were very nice about giving me a new one. There is more to Orange County than what you might see on television shows like The OC and Laguna Beach. If you like whiskey bars, speakeasies, libraries, The Blind Rabbit is a must-see and must-drink.

Visit The Blind Rabbit:440 S Anaheim Blvd,
Anaheim, CA 92805

Check out what The Blind Rabbit used to look like in 2014.

Read Bianca V.‘s review of The Blind Rabbit on Yelp

 

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