Sitting and sipping in Sydney's best small bars every Monday. Check here for regular reviews.
From the parrot-covered wallpaper to the homemade ginger beer served in tin mugs, Grandma knows how to spoil their grandchildren.
Being one of the few left in this city without a phone smarter than I am (I have a sensitive ego), I didn’t know the exact location of this place. Somewhere on Clarence St, somewhere near Town Hall were about all the instructions I had been given. Then, walking along, I see some windows by my feet oozing cosy-ness. Actually oozing it, as in you could brush your teeth with that shit oozing. Once I managed to work out that I had actually found the entrance and wasn’t going to accidentally break into someone’s house (it looks and probably is the entry to an apartment building, with the apartment numbers and all), I frolicked down the Astroturf-ed stairs, avoided making eye contact with the giant moose hanging in the stairwell (being a vegetarian makes me shifty) and ran smack bang into the wonderment that is Grandma’s. Something about being below ground level in dimmed lighting and a narrow space makes me want to wrap myself in a crocheted blanket and never leave. The fact that it’s called Grandma’s and is decorated with doilies and various knitted items makes me think that was probably the vibe they were going for. Touché my friends, touché.
Alright, so décor. Kitch kitch kitch. The yellow wallpaper covered in parrots was a particular favourite of mine. Gotta say the roof though, was a bit of a let down. Yes, I can hear some of you say there’s a fine line between reviewing and obnoxiously nitpicking, and criticising the roof is the metaphorical equivalent of jumping over the volleyball net and running to China to score a point. But you know what? Roofs are important. So there. How do you like that metaphorical spit in the face. And by spit in the face, I mean giant hug. Please like us!
Seating. There wasn’t too much in the way of seating, although the cute arrangements of furniture around shelves on one side and little coffee tables on the other was nice. If you do happen to bag enough seats for you and your group (make friends with the bartenders – they’ll help you out), then you do appreciate the lack of, because it helps make the place feel homey and relax-y rather than another factory mass producing later-in-life-liver-disease.
Big bonus points for their originality in cocktail glasses. No two drinks came in the same glass (if you can call tin mugs and tiki cups glasses, which I obviously can). Cocktails were generally nice and standard in price. Their homemade ginger beer and creativity when it came to accommodating the non-drinkers of the group deserves a big tip of the old knitted beanie. As for wine, they had it, by the glass and by the bottle, and while nothing special it was drinkable and pretty reasonably priced. And less a criticism and more a suggestion – being the wine snob that I am, I would have appreciated the option of having my wine out of an old jam jar or something. Jam jars rock, and I had a serious case of glass envy looking at the cocktail drinkers. As for the food, all I will say is one word. Jaffles. Alright, two more words. Yes! Please!
The grandsons (cough bartenders) were very lovely. And I’m not even kidding when I say they bizarrely felt like cousins you hadn’t seen for a while. However, I do think it’s exceptionally mean of them to put an open window and ledge at street level, conveniently next to the best seats of the house, give us alcohol and then expect us NOT to climb in and/or out of it. Gandi managed to go 21 days without eating but even he wouldn’t have been able to resist climbing through that thing.
So all in all, I give Grandma’s four tasty jaffles and a knitted scarf.