Every now and then, I find something so great I want to keep it to myself for fear of it growing too popular and getting ruined in some way. Once upon a time, I would share my (admittedly well-known) secret of parking at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion for easier access to the Magic Kingdom and now there's security gates and barriers. RUINED.
Now, I’ve been introduced to a secret hideaway in the landmark Anaheim Packing House and I’m taking the risk of sharing what has become my favorite non-Disney spot in Anaheim. Literally days ago someone was talking with me about how Trader Sam’s is the best bar in town. I laughed and said “No.”
Last time, we talked about the historic Anaheim Packing House but I left off the best place in the building, and upon first glance, you wouldn’t even notice it. Tucked in a wall in a corner of the building lies the best speakeasy in town, The Blind Rabbit. In fact, it’s so well hidden, it actually has garnered negative Yelp reviews commenting on how they couldn’t find the place. However, those who were able to access the hidden gem apparently have nothing but positive things to say, myself included.
Celebrating the prohibition era, the environment is highly themed and as soon as you enter through the sake barrels into the secret space, the ambience overtakes you filling your ears with music of the era and a staff that is dressed appropriately. While The Blind Rabbit doesn’t have a dress code per se, I felt underdressed in my T-shirt and jeans and would have loved to have dressed up to a degree as well, making the experience more fun than it already was.
The space is also highly intimate, taking up a small corner of the packing house with a max capacity of 35. Along with the bar, there are several booths along the perimeter walls. In the back of the space near the bookcase that also serves as the exit, is a piano that is home to an entertainer in the evenings. Not forgetting that they’re in Anaheim, The Blind Rabbit is also home to a Hidden Mickey. It’s near the piano, but I’m not here to spoil all the fun. There are also several rules at The Blind Rabbit:
- The Blind Rabbit is a Speak-easy – Please speak easily & keep it clean
- No Telephone Calls – Texting is allowed, as is photography without a flash.
- No Standing at the Bar – As already stated, it’s a small bar and it will be tough to get around you
- Please No PDA – One person per seat ; keep your hands to yourself
- No Name-Dropping – Remember, The Blind Rabbit is located in Southern California, where everyone seems to know someone, and the staff will be quick to remind you that your acquaintances are nothing special.
- Know Your Limit – Please cut yourself off, so they don’t have the burden
- No Switching Seats – All tables and seats are reserved. In fact, you must make reservations to gain admittance to The Blind Rabbit, you can’t simply show up at the door (if you know where it is) and knock a few times.
- Please Be Patient – Great drinks come to those who wait.
That last rule is key. The drinks are made here in one of the most artistic ways I’ve seen where the presentation is half of the experience. Not in a Cocktail-like way, but with the panache of something you’d see on a competitive reality show, making sure that mint leave is positioned just right or the nutmeg on the surface of the drink has a pristine pattern. Our Bartender, Frank, was well versed. He carried himself with such experience well beyond his years that it was shocking to learn he had only been bartending for four. Even with non-drinkers in the group, he whipped up concoctions based on flavors that they like so they too could take in the fun of The Blind Rabbit. As he masterfully made the drinks, he was bombarded with questions from myself and others and answered them with ease as he never lost focus on the drink.
More important than the presentation is the actual drink itself. You can gift wrap the most beautiful box and make it look nice and shiny at Christmas and if what’s inside is junk, it’s still the worst present that year. Fortunately, Frank and the others at the Blind Rabbit deliver. I’ve never had smoother or more handcrafted drinks like this. The rest of my group echoed this, and nobody left disappointed. The specialty drink menu also changes by the season, and The Blind Rabbit is currently offering some holiday themed concoctions, including (but not limited to):
- Partridge in a Pear Tree
(Vodka, Spiced Pear, Cane, Vanilla, Peach, Lemon Peel)
(Vodka, Cranberry, Chai Spice, Lime Juice, Cane, Elderflower)
- Blind Rabbit Nog
(Brown Butter Brandy, Sherry, Maraschino, Almond Milk, Cherry, Vanilla, Orange Flower, Egg)
The Blind Rabbit also serves food, but don’t expect your typical pretzels and bar nuts (though, those are also available). Just naming a few menu items, patrons can order Roasted Pork Belly, Veal Milanese, Grilled Branzino, and Roasted Jidori Chicken.
The Blind Rabbit limits visitors to 90 minutes in the speakeasy, which is completely understandable because if this were in my backyard, I’d be spending a lot longer there every chance I could. This elegant little corner of a historical building has fast become my go to “Or you’re going to Disneyland? You need to take a night and go to this place” recommendation. If you’re looking for a place to walk up and scream over loud music for a vodka-Red Bull in a speedy fashion so you can forget your night that much quicker, The Blind Rabbit is NOT for you. If you’re looking for a truly special place where you can spend some time with good friends and savor and enjoy the time, then I strongly suggest heading to their vague official website and making a reservation. Just remember, enter through the sake and exit through the bookcase.