A bar-within-a-bar out the back of Herne Hill’s medical-themed First Aid Box, Blinder has got a run-down Prohibition vibe, with ladders hanging over picnic tables and a couple of wooden barrels placed hither and thither. Concessions to the concept consist of a few retro lamps on a covered billiards table, some pistols dotted about (as you do) and subtle flashes of copper. It’s more ‘budget garage conversion’ than gangster’s paradise.
Equally charming are the cocktails themselves, served up by an attentive and well-informed barman. First up, the 28 Wrays Later: a three-rum concoction, shaken up with passion fruit seeds and pineapple. It was as sharply refreshing as it was heady, served in a ceramic tankard and crowned with a flaming passion-fruit shell. I was advised against the sweet house manhattan, so wangled a less cloying version from the bar. With a mezcal kick and orangey bitterness, it was a superlative tipple. The ginger and pineapple caipirinha, meanwhile, was zingy and tart.
Bar snacks, too, were fab: from coriander-seed-flecked beef jerky (served warm, and undoubtedly the best I’ve had) to a dinky plate of greaseless soft-shell crab. It’s not especially cheap given its south London location – cocktails hover around the £10 mark, and three mouthfuls of crab are £8.50 – but it’s very well done. Blinder by name, blinder by nature.