Power-hungry. Divided. Lawless. That’s Westeros in a nutshell. It’s also drunk. Very drunk. What a place to bring to life!
If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to drink in a Westerosi pub, the Pop Up Geeks have you covered. They are an independent events team on a mission to blend fiction with reality by means of themed bars. Blood & Wine is their current venture: it’s inspired by A Game of Thrones and they’ve done a damn good job. Is there a better backdrop for this bar than Edinburgh, home of the Black Dinner which inspired the Red Wedding? I think not.
In the basement of Daylight Robbery, the Pop Up Geeks have replicated the drunken revelry oft seen on the television series. From the menu to the décor to the music, everything harks back to medieval life in the Seven Kingdoms. The furniture is wooden, the tables are fashioned out of barrels, and the walls are adorned with banners, candles, and furs. You’ll also find props like a House Stark shield (nice touch!), a map of Westeros, and descriptive posters. The lighting is dark. Swords are in sight. The mood is merry. By George R. R. Martin’s standards, murder is imminent!
The menu is detailed and researched, with drink descriptions accompanied by book quotes to add an air of authenticity. Several TVs around the bar also play GoT episodes and, more importantly, key gruesome scenes. In the span of 2 hours, I had seen Oberyn Martell get his eyes gouged out, Jon Snow demolish Ramsay Bolton’s face, and Rickon meet his untimely death (to which an impassioned bar-goer shouted, “Fuck Rickon!”. There was some serious shade thrown at Rickon that night. Why didn’t he just zig-zag!?).
With some fellow GoT fans, I entered Westeros with the intent of discovering the flavours, sights, and sounds of this land. These were my liquids of choice:
Drink 1: The Old Bear’s Hot Spiced Wine
- Origins: The Wall, Westeros.
- Description: Hot red wine spiced with honey, cloves and nutmeg, essential for survival at The Wall.
- Thoughts: Warming like a Christmas market glühwein. Jon Snow can buy me one of these annnnyyytimmmeeeeeee.
Drink 2: Tyroshi Pear Brandy
- Origins: Arbor, The Reach, Westeros.
- Description: The Tyroshi are a flamboyant and violent people, mercenaries and slavers driven by insatiable greed. Nevertheless, it cannot be said that they do not know how to make a delicious Pear Brandy. Flavours of ripe pears with soft caramel sweetness.
- Thoughts: I’m not normally a brandy girl, but I was intrigued by the drink. A strong beverage fit for a king slayer. Or a coldhearted biatch like Cersei.
Drink 3: Arbor Gold
- Origins: Arbor, The Reach, Westeros.
- Description: Said to be the finest wine in all the Seven Kingdoms. Tropical fruits and honey with a luscious sweetness.
- Thoughts: What Daenerys and I would drink on a ladies night while gossiping about the most eligible bachelors in the Seven Kingdoms (e.g. Daario. Am I right? Ser Jorah, move on already).
Other drinks that might entice you…
- Icelandic Mountain Vodka: co-owned by Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (a.k.a. Ser Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane).
- Blood & Wine sampler: all six wines plus tasting notes.
- Infusions (Westerosi cocktails): Andalish Sours, Myrish Firewine, Black Tar Rum, Blood & Wine.
And if you’re hungry, a few foods are also on hand, including Frey Pies (no Freys were harmed in the making), a leg of Serrano ham, and Sansa’s Lemon Cakes.
Blood & Wine opened the doors to its vault in early January and it runs every Wednesday and Thursday night from 5pm to midnight. Initial plans were to lure the Game of Thrones fandom in just for the month of January; however, due to popular demand, they have extended the pop up through to March 30. So check out this immersive bar while you still can! Who knows, if you’re lucky you might even see a Wildling showdown… or at the very least a Rickon hater.