John holding a bag of coffee beans

Blind Tiger Cafes in Tampa

Written by John Kuder

Table Of Contents

Blind Tiger Coffee Roasters has grown from a single cafe in Ybor City to six locations around Tampa and a downtown location scheduled to open in December 2021.

The company motto says a lot: 

“THE ATMOSPHERE OF A SPEAKEASY COMBINED WITH THE LOVE OF COFFEE – THAT’S WHAT YOU GET AT THE BLIND TIGER”

Blind Tiger counter display

The founders of Blind Tiger were inspired by the feel of a speakeasy and the history of Tampa and wanted to bring the history back to life by serving original roasts “so great tasting, it would seem illegal.”

Blind Tiger logo in front window

What makes them unique? 

  • The Speakeasy atmosphere 
  • A clothing line

Specialty drinks: 

  • Dirty Thaiger
  • Affogato
  • Espresso Bombon

The term “speakeasy” goes back to 1837 and refers to places where liquor is served illegally. The idea of the term is to speak in hushed tones so as to not attract attention to the location.

Other terms for such establishments are “Blind Pig” and “Blind Tiger”. Wikipedia offers explanations for each. Some places skirted the law by charging patrons to see an attraction, such as an animal (blind pig?), and then serve them complimentary beverages.

A blind tiger was a different way of serving drinks, where the seller was hidden from view. Patrons would put money in a drawer in a wall and say what they wanted. A server on the other side of the wall would put the finished drink into the drawer, where the patron could retrieve it. 

Sort of like what we see at the drive-up windows at banks and pharmacies today…

I’ve been to two of the locations so far and am planning to visit the Westshore store next.  I’m enjoying the beans that I bought at the SoHo cafe.

Update 5/15/22: We visited the Ybor store and I got my first Dirty Thaiger. So good!

John and Connie enjoying an iced coffee

Indoor seating? Yes

Food service? Yes, see menu here

Whole beans for sale? Yes

Roaster? Yes

Locations: 6 + 1 imminent (see website)

For purists: pour over and straight espresso

Website: https://blindtigercafe.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blindtigerybor/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/blindtigercoffeeroasters/

Sources:

https://www.tampabay.com/news/business/2021/09/03/blind-tiger-coffee-to-open-new-downtown-tampa-location/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speakeasy

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