The Argyle is in a transitional stage. It’s caught somewhere between its past as a suits’n’tourists watering hole and pick up joint, and the hip inner city location that it aspires to be. And while it’s not quite there yet, it’s well on the way.
The tap beers reflect this bifurcated identity: there are German boutique brews (Stiegl, Paulander, Grüner Apfel cider) alongside Bulmers, Carlton Draught and Pure Blonde. A tall Stiegl in the front courtyard bar will set you back $11.50, but is also the ideal way to address a late afternoon.
The sheer size of the place works against the small-bar vibe they’re trying to create, so they’ve broken the space up into little mini-environments: the pizza canteen dominates one side of the main room, with mismatched couches and comfy armchairs scattered opposite. Upstairs is all gloriously tacky disco lights and velvet couches.
But back to the pizza: they trialled a dumpling bar for a while but seem happier dishing out $15 wood-fired pizzas at top speed. They may be a little charred on the base but they make a quick, cheap and tasty dinner before the party tunes ramp up.
That said, for all of the changes it’s still recognisably the Argyle, from the after-work clientele to the distinctly un-hipster big beat soundtrack. It remains to be seen whether the place can attract new faces and still satisfy the existing base, but if anything can straddle that divide, it’s the promise of beers and pizza.
Feel like some Mexican? You will also find El Camino Cantina within the Arygle.