A Pub Just Around the Corner

May 25, 2012

Joe can’t say exactly how many customers in his first six days of business have said, “This place is great; it’s just around the corner from me,” but it’s enough to make him smile.

This place is Griffins of Kinsale: an Irish pub on Mission Street in South Pasadena.

There are no flat screen TVs, no ear-splitting music, and no oppressive lighting. Instead, there are 115-year-old solid Ash church pews from Norwich, Ontario, Canada. There’s a 110-year-old twenty foot solid mahogany Brunswick-type bar from a hotel in Bedford, Indiana. And finally, solid brass sconces and chandeliers, as well as a tin-tile ceiling add more historical nuances.

Joe and his brother Michael are looking to create a place where the patrons feel comfortable, as though it’s their place just as much as the Griffins’. Joe speaks of wanting to cultivate a sense of community where people may start out as strangers sitting next to each other at the bar, but by the end of their first drink they’re sharing stories—reminiscent of how he envisions the Irish of his ancestors.

Co-owner Joe Griffin

Great Grandfather Griffin sailed from Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland in 1890. He landed in Montreal and began a successful tent and tarp business, repairing sails of the ships at port. Joe is working on the organizing a collection of paintings and photographs to adorn his pub that will tell the tale Griffins of Kinsale.

Kinsale is now, reportedly, considered the gourmet capital of Ireland. Even though he’s 5,000 miles away from his ancestral home, Joe is endeavoring to compliment this tradition. To that end, he has employed Andreas Moya as his executive chef. Moya learned his Irish chops from working at the Fiddler’s Green in Orlando, Florida. Joe states his favorite item on the menu is the Shannon Salmon, then quickly adds the lamb stew, followed by Moya’s award-winning Shepherds Pie.

To wash down these various victuals, Joe has the “Four Irish” on tap: Guinness, Harp, Smithwicks, and Kilkenny. Of course, there are also spirits—with a bit of a lean towards the Irish whiskeys (he carries the whole Jameson line, “up to the very rarest”).

As of now, Griffins of Kinsale has no set hours of operation. Joe says he’s trying to get a feel, testing the waters for what the community wants. He was surprised in his first week that Monday through Wednesday were so busy (especially at dinner time), and he was thrilled when Thursday through Saturday drew a sizable crowd. On the day of this interview, he was looking to unlock the old wood and paned-glass front door at 2:30 p.m. Closing time was anyone’s guess.

Whether you drop by for a serving of corned beef and cabbage, or a spot of Jameson’s Signature Reserve, you’ll be greeted by “Cèad Míle Fáilte,” a greeting hand painted by Joe’s two sons, Danny and Isaac.

“A hundred thousand welcomes” to your new neighborhood pub.

Griffins of Kinsale
1001 Mission Street, South Pasadena
Full bar, waiter service, full bar, live music



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