The Blind Pig Tavern’s ordinary pub exterior belies a more whimsical experience inside. Photos by Greg Bryan

From the outside, The Blind Pig Tavern looks like an ordinary pub. Once you step inside, though, you realize it’s far from that, with whimsical pig-themed art and décor filling the enormous space, surrounded by brick and hunter green walls.

Seating options include a sofa area, regular and high-top tables, and a counter with backless stools. That’s in addition to the gorgeous wooden main bar, with a deep counter and pig-shaped hooks underneath, which is where my drinking companions and I sat. Music was playing at a decent volume, and the service was fast and friendly without being pushy.

And then we opened the cocktail menu.

I’ve never seen anything like it. “Our owner loves cocktails,” said our server, when she heard my gasp of delight, about owner Brandi Kennerson, a former financial planner who grew up in West Gardiner.

By coincidence, we were there the day a new cocktail menu came out, and it was a bit overwhelming. Blind Pig tries to make it easy for you by dividing the options by spirit. In the mood for a vodka-based drink? No problem, you have 11 to choose from, including a $13 Black Pepper Gibson, a $12 Strawberry-Rhubarb Cosmo (which I ordered and loved – slightly sweeter than a regular Cosmo), and an $11 Blackberry-Violet Sour.

The gin-based Queen Victoria, bourbon-based Milk Punch and vodka-based Strawberry-Rhubarb Cosmo are among dozens of concoctions on The Blind Pig’s cocktail menu.

Prefer gin? You have eight choices, including a $10 Beet Martini, an $11 Pineapple Sage Gimlet, and the $13 Queen Victoria (Empress gin, Violette liqueur, lavender simple syrup and fresh lemon juice), which one of my British drinking companions ordered and loved. In fact, the Queen Victoria’s sophisticated layers of flavor made it our favorite of the three drinks we tried.

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Bourbon/whiskey/rye fans, do not despair, you have six cocktails to choose from, such as the $11 Maple Walnut Sour, the $13 Touch of Evil (Bulleit Rye, strawberry Aperol, mandarin simple syrup and hellfire bitters), and the $12 Milk Punch that my other drinking companion ordered. Made using house-infused pecan bourbon, it tasted like a thinner version of an adult milkshake. The Blind Pig Tavern makes all its syrups, shrubs and purées in house, with beautiful bottles of its concoctions on the wall behind the bar.

The Blind Pig makes many of its own cocktail ingredients, including infused liquors.

The cocktail menu also has a tequila/mezcal section with 12 options (I’d love to try the $11 Blackberry Lavender Margarita), nine rum-based drinks (is anyone as intrigued as I am by the $11 Pear Mojito made with spiced rum?), and a section called Bubbles & Booze with five options, including The Gatsby for $9.50 (gin, hibiscus simple syrup, fresh lemon and cranberry juices, and champagne).

As if that isn’t enough, there’s also a section featuring non-alcoholic CBD cocktails. The menu notes that the staff would be happy to make any of their regular cocktails into mocktails, something you don’t see in every bar.  But then again, The Blind Pig Tavern isn’t just any bar.

The main bar, to the left, and a counter are among several seating options at The Blind Pig Tavern in Gardiner.

Now that I’ve finished waxing poetic about their cocktail program, I should add that The Blind Pig Tavern also has an impressive food menu.  Everything we saw coming out of the kitchen looked incredible.

In addition to the pub, Blind Pig is opening a large function room upstairs with full bar service by the beginning of June and also does mobile and catering events. The outdoor patio opens at the beginning of May – as if there weren’t already enough reasons to return.


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