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Pitch Black Bar

Bars and pubs, Cocktail bars Seven Dials
2 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
Pitch Black

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

A cocktail experience in complete darkness.

To read the website of Pitch Black – a cocktail bar in total darkness – you’d think you were signing up for an interesting, experimental tasting session packed with strong, alcoholic treats. It sounds like a sort of boozy Dans Le Noir ? (the famed Clerkenwell restaurant that put dining in darkness on the map).

Pitch Black didn’t live up to that promise when I visited, though. It felt more like a cross between a school-trip sleepover and the dark room at a sex club. By the end of the first cocktail, guests were yelling across the room to find out the relationship statuses of others in the dark. By the end of the second, one man was wandering blindly around, crashing into tables as he followed his penis in the direction of the drunk girls beckoning him. Towards the end of the night, the relative quiet of one shy couple on a date had other guests braying: ‘URGH, ARE YOU SHAGGING OVER THERE?’ Meanwhile, one person began punching a table.

The drinks themselves were great: razor-sharp whisky sours, zingy margaritas. And at £39 for what I think was five drinks (I lost count in the dark) it was very good value. It’s just a shame that most guests seemed to be using the USP as an excuse to act like they were auditioning for ‘Dating in the Dark’ – and, worse, that they were allowed to.

Details

Address: 68A Neal Street
Covent Garden
London
WC2H 9PA
Transport: Tube: Covent Garden
Contact:
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Users say (1)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:0
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|1
1 person listening
Tastemaker

Let's get one thing straight - this place is NOTHING like the film (except for the whole darkness thing!).

This new bar, hidden on Neal Street, hosts the brainchild of Lee Baker & Dom Balfour; a unique sensory experience where taste and smell is EVERYTHING.

Open Monday to Friday, each 90 minute session includes a welcome glass of fizz in a dimly lit retro bar and 4 drinks in "total" darkness (yours eyes adjust after a while). 

Once accustomed to the lighting groups of up to 20 are led in to a room, seated and greeted by the host (in our case the very friendly and enthusiastic Dom) then taken through the concept and what is in store for them for the next 75 minutes or so. 

As the lights are turned out you are plunged in to darkness but for the glow-in-the-dark coasters dotted around the room. A cocktail is swiftly brought to each person (impressive skillz!) and so begins the discussion on aromas, tastes, spirits etc. Shortly after (our group were quick drinkers) another cocktail is served and along the same vein you discuss the cocktail with Dom and the rest of the group. For the most part the cocktails were easy to guess although I heard some interesting suggestions about what our Margherita was (don't worry they change the menu regularly)!

The lights are then turned on, a palate cleanser is brought in and the cocktails are revealed!

Next up are 2 different wines and again as a group you discuss the smell and taste with questions led by Dom on new vs old world, white vs red, different grapes etc. Again once lights are up, alll is revealed and the bottles are passed around. 

The whole experience was surreal as well as a lot more chilled out than I had thought. I definitely wouldn't recommend it for couples celebrating anniversaries or looking for intimate nights out (although the dark provides a cover for any hanky panky). It is a perfect group experience as you are required to be quite vocal throughout.

Dom certainly knew his stuff and we learnt a fair few things - I am suuure he was pulling our legs with some of the stories - including a snippet on the top notes and pairings for the wine however it was reliant on our increasingly sloshed group paying attention.

A definite recommendation for any group (hen dos, big birthdays) looking for something fun and quirky.

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