“One would have sworn the Blind Tiger was just a tiny coffee shop below an apartment building, but further investigation would show that there was a lot more to it than that! After all, why was the place SO small? Where did they keep all their coffee beans and other supplies? Hmmmm….”
The Blind Tiger Coffee Co. is a quaint little coffee storefront in the Osborne district of Winnipeg, MB. When you walk inside, you are instantly blasted with the smell of fresh dark roast coffee mixed with the aroma of dried teas in paper bags sitting on the counter.
One would first notice the vintage decorations that covered the wall, or perhaps the antique cash register that sat promptly on the front of the counter. A chalkboard sign resides up above the counter with a small selection of coffees and teas.
The cafe is tiny and it would seem like not much more than a indie place to grab your coffee on your morning transit to work.
Until you discover the secret.
I was of course tipped off beforehand about this “secret door” that lies within the coffee shop walls. However, had I not known prior, I would have had no idea it was even there.
The name “Blind Tiger” was used during the North American Prohibition Years (1920 – 1933). It was a term synonymous with speakeasy, or “illegal bar”. They were secret places where distilled alcoholic beverages would be transported, manufactured, and sold during the Prohibition. These blind tigers would often be raided and workers and patrons alike would be arrested for the illegal activities.
Blind Tiger Coffee Co. is based off this important piece of American history.
I looked at the barista of the cafe and asked, “Is the speakeasy open?” to which she graciously assured me positive.
I noticed the hook on the back wall of the coffee shop where an apron hung. I stepped toward in and gently pulled down on it until the wall panel opened up automatically as a doorway.
The seemingly small cafe opened up into a completely different world. I stepped into a very classy view of the past.
The decently sized speakeasy was dark and filled with candlelit black tables with wine glasses and place settings. There was a large grill on the left side of the room and a beautiful vintage bar on the right side. Antiques and historic posters covered the walls, and there was even a small lounging area with couches for casuals.
To say I was impressed would be an understatement. This place was beautiful. You would have felt like you had stepped into a time machine if it were not for some of the modern aspects such as the modern dressed chefs, beautifully designed menus, and the current facilities.
Here I sat and enjoyed one of the best Tom Collins I have ever had, as well as the smiles of the beautiful waitresses that were both beautiful and polite in allowing me to take as many photos as I wanted. The only thing that may have hurt was the rather expensive pricing; however, you do pay for what you get and the experience itself was worth every penny.
The Blind Tiger Coffee Co. is definitely a must see for anyone that enjoys history, chill bars, and delicious food.
The menu holds many delicious French entrees including rabbit, steak, chicken, lobster, soups, salads, and delicious desserts. The drinks menu includes house wine, cocktails, and a good selection of import beers.
I look forward to return visits, and if you are in Winnipeg, make an opportunity to go and see it! It’s truly unique. You can find their official website here.
Cheers Blind Tiger!
P. S. They also really do have a great cup of coffee. I was sure to get a dark roast before I left and it was premium!