Lightning Review: Gryphons Caffe – Griffith Shops

by The Editor

Well this one certainly snuck up on us… while having a sneaky look at Duxton in O’Connor shops, Gryphons Caffe flung its doors open to Southside pubgoers with little fanfare.  Finally, Griffith shops has its own pub.

We made our way from a lazy (though deeply satisfying) breakfast at Edgar’s in Ainslie – but more about that at a later time.  Out the front of Gryphons Caffe (don’t get uptight about punctuation or spelling – we’ve been through this before) we were delighted to discover a blackboard proclaiming it had indeed opened on the 23rd.

Later that afternoon we returned.  Simply walking in, one could only marvel at the new varnish smell of a fresh pub.  As you might expect, the fitout is heavily accented with woods.  The heavy granite counter features a patterned tin facade, and the floor immediately in front is done with grey-brown tile.

On the light wooden floor sit some pretty heavy duty tables from Scott Mitchell.  Some are high benches capable of seating up to ten people, or low tables surrounded by chesterfield couches.  Further down the back, past the kitchen and before the entry to the bathrooms, simple square tables in dark wood and no tablecloth wait patiently for diners.

Take a few steps further and you find yourself on the back deck.  With four tables, it’s a pleasant spot for a shady afternoon drink.  Unfortunately, the brick wall is in the wrong spot (although clearly a legacy issue from previous tenants) blocking a vista of the old Griffith Oval while the view through the railings reveals only a fairly grubby carpark.

Still, the fresh air makes up for the lack of greenery, and it feels a suitable informal space.  Make the most of it, as there is little chance of punters sitting out the front of the venue or enjoying large open windows on warmer days.  While a small window to deliver coffees to early morning punters, the vicinity of neighbours and the experiences of the Kenny brother’s over at All Bar Nun means a rather smart decision has been made to double glaze the windows, invest in an airlock at the entry and keep streetside noise to a minimum.  It’s an astute move which will help endear Gryphons to a neighbourhood long in need of such a venue.

We settled down to a pint of Coopers Pale Ale and a Magner’s Cider – both available on tap.  Other options include the James Squire range as well as a collection of beers and ciders (including the always-in-demand Rekorderlig).  Flicking through the wine list reveals a robust and sensibly conservative list suited to the casual style of the space.  There are a few Canberra region wines, and by-the-glass starts at $7.00

Walking through the bar one can’t help but smile at the cutaways in the floor revealing the storage area downstairs.  While there was certainly a range of wines stacked in boxes, apparently the short-term plan is to turn this into a private dining room, where with a bunch of friends you can have food and drink bought directly to your table.  It will be interesting to see how this is executed given the concept is unusual for a casual dining venue.

Settling down with our drinks we tuck into a recently arrived Venetian pizza of sweet potato, pumpkin and baby spinach.  Pizzas were at the core of the All Bar Nun menu, and at Gryphons come in between $22.00 – $25.00 for roughly a 12 inch pan. For those looking for something more substantial, there is plenty more from the Dinner/Lunch menu

So, what of Gryphons?  Like any well established model, there are no surprises, only tweaks to the formula.  There’s beer, big screen televisions, pizzas and wood.  If you’ve been to All Bar, Debacle or even the aforementioned Edgars, Gryphons does exactly what it says on the box.  In fact, it does it every day from 7.00am.

Is that a bad thing?  Not at all.  In such times of hung Parliaments and leadership challenges, a little consistency is a wonderful thing…

Contact Details:

Address: 6 Barker Street, Griffith ACT 2603

Phone: (02) 6260 8848




Opening Times:  7 days from 0700 to 2300