Published July 25, 2012
Úrilla Górillan (“The Grumpy Gorilla”) is a bar with two locations, specialising in small groups, American grub, too much beer and finding an outlet for our inner cannibal necrophiliacs through the ritualised watching of organised sports.
After proving reasonably successful with their American sports bar at their Stórhöfði 17 location, The Gorilla decided to swing over to 101 Reykjavík a couple of months back. The Gorilla planted itself right next to The English Pub, sure to provide a stream of lively conversations through a cloud of halftime cigarettes in the outside common area about what exactly constitutes “football.”
Downstairs there are more monitors than you can throw a disapproving banana at. There are monitors inside monitors and those monitors have tiny iPhones of their own broadcasting a live stream of a stack of monitors in a post-apocalyptic future where monitors have conquered the human race (next Thursday?). The upstairs area is mostly rented out to college kids or small business groups and I have been told it will eventually be fitted with retro arcade games and a 3D projector.
So what’s the food like? The Gorilla has the standard burgers, fries and wings fare. Having said that, this is probably the best sports bar food I’ve had in Iceland. My male escort for the evening had the burrito with large oat flakes (1,990 ISK dinner / 990 ISK lunch) and I had the peppercorn cheeseburger (1,990 ISK dinner / 990 ISK lunch) and we split a large side order of hot wings (1,790 ISK).
The burger was surprisingly good: juicy without dripping with grease, fresh bun, medium rare and tasted of green peppercorns. The burrito was less exciting; they should focus on the grease and leave out the “healthy” additions. To liven it up, my male escort make the mistake of adding a pint of habanero Tabasco and I had to listen to his whimpering for the rest of the meal.
The star of the show were the wings, although wings in name only, seeing as what you get are thin deep-fried chicken fillets with a breadcrumb coating served with a lacing of hot sauce and a side of mild blue cheese sauce. But those faux wings still managed to soar above any wings I’ve had in Iceland up to now—custom-made breadcrumbs and tender, juicy fillets.
Top marks for the service as well. A small mistake was made with the burger order but they whipped up the right order in what seemed like five minutes and they split the order of wings without us asking.
My main complaint is that Úrilla Górillan needs to get a proper website. They might think it’s rad to rely on social media for the heavy lifting (how Web two-point-whoah! of them), but a barebones Facebook page with no menu is like handing out business cards while not wearing any pants (which might actually work if you’re a bar-hopping gorilla). Get some college kid to do it for you in exchange for some free beers.
Austurstræti 12, 101 Reykjavík
What We Think: Good burgers, great hot “wings”
Flavour: American sports bar by the numbers
Ambiance: Gets louder as the night goes on but not as fratty as the other sports bars
Service: Fast and friendly