Photos by Andrew Dominick
One step through the door at 174 Martine Avenue and you’d swear you’re in one of Greenwich Village’s upper echelon cocktail bars. The marble bar, the blossomed rose wallpaper, the old photographs of Hollywood legends that don the walls, and a lounge with leather chairs and couches are all reminiscent of a New York City hot spot. Only, you’re not in Manhattan; you’re in White Plains at The Blind Pig, a sexy bar that opened in December in what was the former Tighe’s Tavern.
Behind the bar at The Blind Pig are owners James Brennan and Daniel Cahill, countrymen from Ireland (Brennan is from Cavan, Cahill is from Dublin) who met in New York while Brennan worked construction with Cahill’s brother. “I bartended on weekends,” Brennan recalls. “I asked Daniel to train me [in bartending] because he’s really talented.” After stops at Keane’s Bar in the Bronx and O’Brien’s in Manhattan, Brennan took a bartending gig with Cahill at The Brazen Fox.
The pair faced trials, tribulations, and the inevitable bouncing around the industry before they decided to open a place of their own. “We were going to open a deli, but had experience at bars,” Brennan says. “We’ve had lots of support to open this place from Sheamus Keane (Keane’s), Declan Rainsford (The Brazen Fox), and Rory Dolan (Rory Dolan’s), and we got lessons from people at [NYC’s] Death & Co. and The Dead Rabbit.”
What Brennan and Cahill wanted to do was open something different in White Plains: a casual, cozy, perfect for date night, speakeasy-themed cocktail pub. The Blind Pig isn’t serving up vodka-cranberries — though I’m certain they’d make you one if that’s your deal — their schtick is a mix of their own creations and riffs on classic cocktails.
One of those riffs is the Improved Clover Club, with Plymouth Navy Strength Gin, Dolin Dry Vermouth, raspberry shrub, lemon juice, and frothy egg white. They’ll even float an edible Banksy Balloon Girl print on top that you’ll get a kick out of.
The Overruled is a dangerously drinkable version of an Old Fashioned with a base of Redemption Bourbon, served in a cedar-smoked rocks glass with orange zest, black walnut bitters, and molasses-like demerara simple syrup.
Other notables on the spirits-balanced list are the Pharmaceutical Stimulant, The Blind Pig’s version of an espresso martini (vanilla-infused vodka, Patron Café, espresso, lemon bitters, chocolate bitters, anisette rinse), and a smooth Irish Coffee with fresh shaken whipped cream.
Aside from cocktails, there are a handful of wines and eight beer taps, including Pig Lager, a wheaty, easy drinking brew made for The Blind Pig by Captain Lawrence.
By the end of February, The Blind Pig will launch a food menu. They’ve hired Darragh Dudley, formerly of Daniel Boulud’s eponymous Daniel and sous chef at ABC Kitchen, to execute what they’re calling “sexy bar food.” There’ll be about 18 selections, 12 of which will be small plates. Expected to be on the menu are popcorn (brown butter, Parmesan, sea salt, and paprika) a burger, a buttermilk fried chicken sandwich, duck ravioli, and a version of fish ’n’chips that, according to Brennan, is a version no one’s seen before.
Until the food debuts, there’s plenty to wet your whistle with. “Cocktails have really come back,” Brennan says. “Locals tell us they’ve been waiting for a place like this. We want to be the first cocktail bar in White Plains that you think of.”
The Blind Pig
174 Martine Ave