Beer nut Davydd Griffiths spent 16 years transforming the Flemington and Kensington Bowling Club's bar from a two-tap ("heavy and light") affair to a quaint craft beer haven.
Now he's taken the next step, opening upbeat beer-and-burger joint Mr Griffiths Alibis and Libations in Kensington. "We wanted to create a bar that was the type of place we'd want to hang out at ourselves," says part-owner and chef Rob Auger.
Judging by their opening days, many others – students, young professionals, families, beer lovers – are keen to hang with them. "We want people to get a nice pint and burger for $20, so everyone in the community is able to come in and try us out," Griffiths says.
There are three taps, with Western City Brewing's Footscray Ale ($8 a pint) the mainstay pour. The second, currently serving Moon Dog's Love Tap Lager, will rotate local brews, while the third will deliver all manner of weird and wonderful options.
A few dozen bottled brews (including selections from Scottish label BrewDog and Kiwi outfit Tuatara), some decent wines and spirits, and some themed cocktails round out the drinks list. The Pickleback – a $3 shot of pickle juice that they recommend downing before your choice of whiskey to fully bring out its sweetness – is a must-try.
Locals are loving the burgers ($8.50-$13.50) which include buttermilk fried chicken, Frank's red hot sauce, lettuce, tomato and ranch sauce propping open a sweet, pillow-soft brioche bun.
And Canadian expats are embracing poutine, with jalapenos, sriracha, bacon and house-made cheese curds dialling the fries' flavour switch to 11.
And sweet tooths can't resist the funnel cake, swirls of deep-fried batter served with ice-cream, Nutella, salted caramel and popping candy.
This may be how the west was won.
Open Mon-Sat noon-1am; Sun noon-11am.
524 Macaulay Road, Kensington, mrgriffithsbar.com.au