The Blind Cafe - San Francisco

Payne Masion Hotel

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In a Nutshell

This traveling pop-up event produces a several-course vegetarian meal served in the dark as an experiment in social change

The Fine Print

Promotional value expires Nov 13, 2015. Amount paid never expires. Limit 1 per person, may buy 3 additional as gifts. Limit 1 per visit. Valid only for option purchased. Online reservation required. Must follow voucher instructions to redeem online. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services.

Choose Between Two Options

  • $79 for a Dining in the Dark experience for one ($125 value)
  • $155 for a Dining in the Dark experience for two ($250 value)

The event is held at Payne Mansion Hotel on November 10–12, at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. each night. The meal includes a vegetarian dinner with dessert and a beverage. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds will benefit a local blindness organization.

The Blind Cafe

Before the dinner begins, each diner moves their drink to their left hand and lines up, placing their free hand on the shoulder of the person in front of them. That person could be a loved one or a stranger, but very shortly, trusting them will become important. A host walks the line to make sure everyone is ready, then pulls aside a heavy, canvas curtain flap, revealing a room of pitch darkness. The group of people file in, led by the waitstaff—blind people lending others their expertise at moving sightlessly—who help the group to their tables.

In the absence of sight, other senses take over at the meal; diners focus on the aroma and flavor of the plates of food that come before them. Local chefs craft purely vegetarian meals, forgoing elements of presentation to instead create interesting textures and tastes. As the evening commences, the meal is served as the legally blind waitstaff talks about blindness in a Q&A, which is followed by an original soundtrack from performing artists Rosh & the Blind Cafe Orchestra or Richie Flores. The event doesn't just excite senses, but aims to educate visitors about life as a blind person. Yet for all the good it does, the event doesn't stick around forever: as a pop-up originating in Boulder, the organizers bring this experience to cities around the country two to three times a year for special temporary engagements.

Customer Reviews

Great experience!!
Sara S. · November 15, 2015
It is a fantastic experience, this is my second time going and so glad I went again. Totally different each time.
Leann H. · April 10, 2017
Great experience put on by great people. This isn't just some event to post about on social media, it gives you new perspective.
Justine · March 13, 2017

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