At The Blind Pig we are asked numerous questions regarding our company, services, and hours but one that we are asked repeatedly is “Where did the name come from?” And since you asked…
The name actually has two meanings, both referring to the 1920’s and early 1930’s when prohibition was taking place in the United States. Speakeasies became very popular, with small bars and pubs providing alcohol in hidden locations. Often times this was illegal and therefore the term “blind pig” refers to the police turning a blind eye to those underground establishments. Other times the illegal aspect was avoided when places would make money by advertising a “blind pig”, “blind tiger” or another animal to be viewed. Customers would pay to come see the animal and then be given a complimentary alcoholic beverage; therefore, avoiding breaking the law of selling beer or liquor.
We have used this concept as inspiration at The Blind Pig Barber Company. The design, as mentioned before, mimics a man cave meets speakeasy bar. In the basement of 46 Market Street, in the same location that a previous bar stood, we have replicated the hidden aspect of a speakeasy by being more literally “underground”. We also provide a service for which you pay and, in doing so, are offered a complimentary beverage.
Today, speakeasies are making a comeback with people enjoying the nostalgic essence of a hidden drinking spot. There are several in Portland, Maine that claim to be speakeasies. Yes, some are underground. Yes, some are less marked than other bars. And yes, some have a speakeasy, 1920’s feel to them once inside. However, after going to most of those who make the claim, only one can actually be dubbed a true speakeasy bar.
Lincoln’s, also on Market Street, gets the trophy for living up to the definition of a modern day speakeasy. With its popularity growing, many locals use the location as a way to escape the crowds on Fore and Wharf Street. However, as a local, I feel obligated to somewhat disclose its secret while still allowing you to go on a fun hunt. No sign. No fancy lights or A-frame with specials will be found when looking for it. In fact, even if you find the correct door a false wall hides its location even more. If you identify which wall is fake, you then must find its handle. Upon entering, the atmosphere boasts dim lighting, cozy sofas and coffee tables, along with a bar that sells EVERY drink for $5. There are a limited number of liquors and mixers; however, again, all for only $5.
So next time you are downtown in the Old Port and swing by the Blind Pig Barber Company for a drink and a haircut, continue to scour Market Street for it’s truly hidden gem and make a night of it.