Being in the dark can be surprisingly liberating, given that you’re not afraid of it. Blind Bar, operating within the Farm gastropub on Ó Street, is the first bar in Hungary that welcomes guests to step into a lightproof locale to enjoy delicious meals and fine wines amid total darkness, increasing their reliance on the four other senses.
During our recent visit, we learned that people are always surprised just how dark it is inside Blind Bar, and how they literally cannot see anything – the space used to be a bicycle-storage room, and it is closed with a floodgate that blocks even the tiniest ray of sunshine. “I work with escape rooms, and when I learned that there was an unused room at Farm, I suggested we come up with something different. I saw something similar in a movie, where a couple went into a completely dark room for a rendezvous; that’s where the basic idea came from,” said Balázs Koltai, one of the creators of the Blind Bar concept. The kitchen and bar of Farm was already well established, so all it took to turn this dark dream into reality was setting up the room itself... and naturally, preparing the interior design of a light-free chamber is not a monumental task.
In addition to cold-cut dinners, Blind Bar regularly hosts wine tastings, mixer competitions, and object-recognition contests, along with other similar programs – mainly for corporate team building. “Many people are convinced that, for example, they can prepare a mojito with their eyes closed. That’s why we came up with the mixer competition: we put the ingredients on the table, and when they are finished with preparing the drinks, guests also have to taste them – and they get surprised by the sausage-and-garlic mojitos they unknowingly made,” said Gergely Rostás, the owner of Farm.
The dinner program itself (which costs 6,980 forints, with drinks included) is completely safe, although we obviously wouldn’t recommend it to those who suffer from claustrophobia or panic attacks. The waiters walk around with head-mounted night-vision goggles usually used by hunters or soldiers, which allows them to see in greenish hues for a radius of approximately one meter. Outside at the bar, the staff follows the events inside on a monitor; if a guest would like to ask something from the staff, they raise their hands. The meal is entirely cutlery-free and doesn’t include any juicy or saucy foods, so we can feel free to wear a white shirt – not that clothing choices matter inside Blind Bar.
Our first task after stepping into – or rather, being led into – the dark chamber is to find our chair. If taking a date here, you can forget about offering compliments like “has anyone ever told you how beautiful your eyes are?” Instead, we can enjoy a sense of shared achievement by successfully clinking our glasses, or sticking the drinking straw into our mouth instead of our eye.
The cold cuts we received were rather plentiful, with homemade sausages, hams, cheeses, and vegetables stacked on the plate. We didn’t think that the loss of our vision would be much of a challenge, but sometimes we still needed a few minutes to recognize some vegetables (“Oh, it’s cucumber!”), not to mention the various cheeses. People who are fussy about what they eat in what order during a traditional meal – let’s say they eat the meat first, followed by the bread, cheese, then the vegetables – will be forced to break their usual routine, as here, you eat what you manage to get your hands on, literally.
The portion is huge; after many more minutes and bites, we felt as if someone was secretly rearranging and increasing the contents of the plate – everywhere we reached, we found something new. During the dinner, we listen to some pleasant background music and, due to the light deprivation enhancing our other senses, we also have an easier time eavesdropping on the conversation at the neighboring tables. According to the owner, guests from separate tables often form uncanny friendships this way.
As we mentioned before, Blind Bar is most ideal for team building, but it also serves as a completely unique date spot. The bar can serve up to four couples at once, who can spend an hour in the calming dark. Vegetarian, vegan, or lactose-intolerant guests don’t need to worry either, as they have separate menus for them, as well. However, if you decide to visit Blind Bar, be sure to book a table 2-3 weeks in advance for a weekend reservation, and at least a few days ahead for weekdays.