When it comes to cocktail bars in Orange County, I think the general consensus is pretty much that Blind Rabbit is the best of the bunch, known for its drinks as well as its concealed “speakeasy” entrance and strict rules/dress code. I’d been here a couple times before, but I figured I should probably give the place a proper go and write it up.
The Blind Rabbit is largely the work of the husband-and-wife team of Robert Adamson and Ying Chang. An OC native, Adamson was born in Fountain Valley and grew up in Anaheim. After finishing up at Magnolia High School, he spent four years in the Navy (he got out in ’99) and then attended The Art Institute of California-Orange County, graduating in 2003 with a degree in graphic design. However, he also boasts over 20 years experience in the hospitality biz, including time spent bartending.
Chang, for her part, hails from Milwaukee, and graduated with a Social Ecology degree from UCI. She worked as a server, then a bartender, and later got into restaurant training and management. The two started conceptualizing The Blind Rabbit in 2013, and ended up partnering with Leonard Chan’s The Alchemists, the group behind the likes of Iron Press, Hatch, Rolling Boil, Shuck Oyster Bar, McFadden Public Market, En Tu Boca, and Cal Shabu. They debuted the bar at the end of May 2014, along with the grand opening of the entire Packing House.
Rounding out the Blind Rabbit bar team are Head Bartender Andrew Winters, Bartender Nikki Pascua, Bar Manager Frank Bui, and Bar Apprentice Moises Garcia. Alisha Buehn handles Sommelier duties, while Lynette Le serves as General Manager. The food, finally, is the charge of Hiro Uchida, who’s sort of the corporate-y chef for The Alchemists.
Inside, things are tight. It’s a dimly-lit, roughly 550-square-foot space with room for about 30 seated guests I’d say (about a third of which are at the bar). There’s a sort of a 1920s vibe happening, with eclectic, whimsical touches abound. Do note, however, that the place actually featured a much sparer decor when it first opened in ’14.