Walking up the street, I could hear the pub before I could see it. It wasn’t that everybody was outside, the inside was rammed too, predominantly young professionals, the sort that don’t wear suits. Everyone kept in check by a smartly dressed bouncer who kindly posed for a portrait.
I have to give him top marks for the very polite, yet professional way he prevented the sizeable number of metropolitan spreaders from encroaching onto the frontage of neighbouring properties where people were still working. I think this was his main purpose at 6pm on a Thursday evening, rather than the fear of any disorder.
Looking at what you could see, of the front of the pub it’s pretty original, with some really nice tea pot brown tiling and tiled branding of Meux’s brewery. Look up and there’s checkered tiled panels higher up on the walls. The Griffin is on the London regional pubs register which tells me it was originally a Meux brewery house. That doesn’t account for the Charrington (see photo) and also Whitbread branding, which all seemed a bit strange to me?
Inside it’s a long single roomed pub with the lavs at the rear, which coincidentally were top class. I read an older review of the pub which said they were disgusting and filled the rest of the pub with their aroma. I’m not sure when The Griffin transformed from a spit and sawdust place into a trendy craft beer bar, but that’s what it is now and very nice it is too, in a minimalist sort of way.
Okay, there is some cask ale, but on my visit I felt sorry for the lonely looking UBU Purity pump. Not sorry enough to try any though and I didn’t see any being sold. Instead I had one of the eighteen or so keg beers; a pint of Northern Monk Brew Co. Heathen, not too cold, not over carbonated. Mrs C had a Siren Spin Botany a G & T sour thingy. I can’t remember how much they cost, I just tapped the gizmo with my card like everyone else. I wasn’t bothered neither because it was first rate and I was enjoying myself. The vibe was excellent in this place, even though we couldn’t manage to get a sit down.
In fact it was so good we had another. I would have had another one after that if we hadn’t booked a table for 7.30pm elsewhere. I hear lots of things about Shoreditch, but I’ve always liked it and still do. I can’t understand why I’ve never found The Griff before though?
Stood outside drinking, some people did engage in casual conversation with me but the overwhelming memory is dogs and cig smoke. I’m sure they don’t take their dogs to work, maybe they do? But they all smoke. In fact I’ve never seen as many smokers outside a pub since I went in the Rifle Drum in Northampton. Mind you they didn’t have some bird threading a blokes eye brows in their boozer. I reckon that must flipping hurt.
Anyway my verdict on this one is: top boozer, top vibe at tea time and do what the locals do, drink keg. If you visit, make sure you get the Griffin in Shoreditch and not the one in Clerkenwell Road, near to the Craft Beer Co. place, or you might get more than you bargained for.