Our shadows crept out from our footsteps as they echoed across the worn cobblestones of the twilit street.
"Are we here?" Flossie said quietly by my side.
We paused to survey the scene, bathed in the orange glow of the streetlamps and sprinkled with a sheen of light drizzle. The street was deserted aside from the singular misshapen silhouette of a couple huddled beneath a disobedient umbrella a little further in the distance.
A sharp staccato burst of laughter erupted from a nearby doorway which caught our attention. We wandered down to locate the source, before finding ourselves outside a shifty-looking butchers.
After a moment of silent contemplation, a man in a bowler hat emerged from the shadows.
"Step this way, Ladies." He murmured in a drawling American accent, holding out his leather-clad hand toward the solid oak door before us.
The faint sounds of music and laughter permeated through the wood and I knew what to do.
Reaching into my pocket I withdrew the long, thin matchbox emblazoned with the insignia 'BP' in a cursive design, which had been dropped through my letterbox a few days before. Opening the matchbox, I retrieved the heavy brass key which I'd found inside. From the side, the ruts and edges of the key's head formed the unmistakable profile of a pigs head. I thought it was just for decoration, surely this couldn't actually unlock the door?
I glanced at Flossie before inserting the key into the lock and turning it with a satisfied clunk.
The door swung open and a wall of sound, scents and warmth exploded toward us.
Jazz and swing music seem to erupt from the very walls, and the end of the corridor in front of us opened out into a large room where countless people were swerving and jiving to the sound of the live brass band. All around us were people dressed like they'd walked straight out of a time warp or were on their way to a party at Jay Gatsby's, with men in crisp shirts, braces and trilby's and dazzling women with long beaded dress, perfectly coiffed hair and glittering feathered headbands.
"Welcome Ladies, to the Blind Pig Collective." A man with an impressive beard greeted us, and handed us two silver envelopes. "You'll find all you'll need inside." I squeezed Flossie's wrist and she shot me an excited smile as we opened the envelopes to find them stuffed with special Blind Pig dollars to redeem for drinks.
"Perhaps you ought to head to the bathroom first...." He said with a wry smile as he disappeared into the crowd.
We mingled through the decadent crowd barely able to contain our excitement and eventually found ourselves by a hair and makeup station where you could get retro-fied for free before sauntering over to the drawing room to have your photo taken. While Flossie held our place, I set off to find this mysterious bathroom.
I soon discovered the place was a sprawling four story residential home that hadn't changed in decor or design since it's construction in the early 1920's. I followed the wood-paneled staircases to the top floor, where I found a makeshift casino to my right, and the illustrious bathroom to my left.
All across the floor, erupting from the sinks and bathtubs in crates and stacks, bottles of newspaper-clad cider adorned every nook and cranny of the checkerboard-floored bathroom.
"Good evening, what'll be your tipple?" A suave gentleman with a charming smile asked, gesturing to the vast expanse of bottles. I redeemed a couple of my silver bucks for two out of the choice of Honey & Apple, Rum & Poached Pair and Blueberry and Bourbon. I'd never heard of combining fruit flavour and spirits within a cider before, and to be honest wasn't sure how it was going to work out, thinking it might be a little bit too drink-ception. But boy was I wrong.
I couldn't even put my finger on what exactly it tasted like - it was nothing I'd ever really tried before. It was somehow sweet yet punchy, refreshing and zesty, ice-cold yet soul-warming. My favourite was the bourbon and blueberry which was a combination I never would have ever thought to put together but I'm sure glad Blind Pig Cider decided to.
The evening whirled by in a hypnotic swirl of music, excited chatter and damn good drink, and I found myself sat in a candlelit office being interviewed by a 1920's newspaper reporter one moment, to studying the various artwork on the walls and chatting to the artists the next. Blind Pig not only offers an exciting new range of ciders, but it's also home to some incredibly talented artists and creatives, in their hub called 'The Blind Pig Collective.' These artists has created special artwork inspired by the event, and was displayed all across the venue.
"I was inspired by the romanticised idea of a prohibition speakeasy. I liked the idea that behind a seemingly anonymous building, there was a place that brought people from all walks of life,
who collectively forgot there worries. I wanted to create an intriguing scene with hidden layers." I was told by Adam Simpson, and oh boy was he right.
From what outside looked like a boarded-up butchers on a derelict street, inside professed an intoxicating secret as a melting pot of society gathered together in the dead of the night to relish in the music, art, dance and thrill of the exclusively elusive event.
We spent our evening getting glammed-up by the makeup artists, being interviewed for our own little newspaper piece which was typed on a Victorian typewriter, having our picture taken in the chandelier-lit ballroom and dancing in the basement, cider in hand, and before we knew it, the evening had escaped from us.
Suddenly the band was hushed, everyone froze and the sound of sirens filled the house.
Flossie shot me a genuinely terrified look and I couldn't help but laugh as slapstick 'coppers' burst into the party.
"What's going on here? You rapscallions, get out of here!" The faux policeman with thick pseudo-American accents swarmed the place and rounded everyone up, even pretending to arrest some unsuspecting party-goers.
Eventually we all spilled out on the quiet street, and reluctantly all left the candlelit sanctuary of our fictional evenings and set off on the process of returning to reality.
But oh boy, what a party.
You can see more about Blind Pig Cider here, and find a whole bunch of places where you can try it for yourself by following on Instagram at BLINDPIGCIDER.