The heady pleasure of sipping a well-executed artisan cocktail cannot be overstated. Even perusing The Griffin's drink list chock-full of herbal simple syrups and local craft liquors and essential oils is enough to lift your spirits. Locals will recognize the friendly faces of owners Cordelia Ray and Vanessa Griffin crafting drinks behind the bar. Both women spent years honing their bartending skills at local haunts before partnering to open this addition to Arcata's off-the-plaza scene, stylishly housed in the industrial space previously occupied by Robert Goodman Winery. Local DJ's spin tunes most Saturday nights and a creative lineup of winemaker dinners, pop-ups, prix-fixe guest chef "takeovers" and live music fill the calendar.
Sitting at The Griffin's long bar, the choice between the Ray of Sunshine, a hibiscus-infused Gran Centenario Reposado served with rose syrup and sparkling wine, or the Wright whiskey sour, with its Old Forester, Bitter Truth Pimento Dram, egg white and a bright sweet-and-sour made fresh, is delightfully difficult. Some days might call for a Painkiller, a concoction of orange and pineapple juice, coconut cream and spiced rum, finished with sprinkle of nutmeg. We're told girlfriends meeting after work like the Sparkling Sativa, a flute of sparkling wine with bergamot infused sugar and sativa essential oils.
With drink in hand, now it's time to think about tacos. In the most delicious symbiotic relationship we can imagine, The Griffin has farmed out control of its ample kitchen to the talented crew of the Taco Faktory. Producers of Humboldt County's cult favorite Asian-fusion tacos and burritos, the Taco Faktory still rolls in its truck in addition to cranking out a full menu at The Griffin. Calling their place, "A drinking establishment with a taco problem," The Griffin's owners appear to understand our every whim.
Photos by Amy Kumler • Styling by Lynn Leishman