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Dine in Darkness at the SF Blind Café

Photo courtesy of Double Takes

A majority of the population is born with the ability to touch, smell, taste, hear, and see, but how often do we take time to consider the significance of these sensations in our daily lives? I recently took advantage of an opportunity to temporarily eliminate one sense and dine in total darkness at the local Blind Café.

With cafés in Austin, Boulder, Portland, and Seattle already in place, San Francisco is a natural next stop for this pop-up. Two hours in complete darkness can be intimidating, especially once you’ve been led into an unfamiliar room and guided to your seat by fellow blind diners.

With a delicious locally farmed vegan meal laid out in front of you, the blind staff encourages you to smell, touch, and taste as they talk with you about their condition and their personal experience with blindness. Q & A’s in the dark consist of a lot more shouting than raising hands (for obvious reasons), but there is something about engaging in organic conversation with a room full of strangers who can’t see each other that instills a sense of community among the group.

As the meal and conversation come to an end, music begins, and with nothing but sound to reference, you end up loosing yourself in the guitar and vocals. At one point, my date and I stood to dance with no perception of anything or anyone around us. Once the group joins the band in saying goodnight, a candle is lit and it feels as if you're waking up from a dream that you somehow shared with everyone around you.

Because the experience is driven toward raising awareness and funding for blind research, tickets have a suggested price scale. If you’re inspired to experience the evening for yourself, be sure to get your tickets for the last weekend!

Watch the Blind Café video here.

“It is hard to interest those who have everything, in those who have nothing.” – Helen Keller