If you want to find a nook where time seems to be holding its breath, head to the heart of the old town, where the Fleischmarkt (Meat Market) meets the hilly Griechengasse. Commanding the cobblestone lane is a 14th-century watchtower, Vienna's oldest, and an ivy-covered tavern called the Griechenbiesl, which has been serving customers for 500 years. Half a millennium ago, this quarter was settled by Greek and Levantine traders (there are still many rug dealers here) and
many of them made this tavern their "local." The wooden carving on the facade of the current restaurant commemorates Marx Augustin—best known today from the song "Ach du lieber Augustin"—an itinerant musician who sang here during the plague of 1679. A favored Viennese figure, he fell into a pit filled with plague victims but survived, presumably because he was so pickled in alcohol. In fact, this tavern introduced one of the great pilsner brews of the 19th century and everyone—from Schubert to Mark Twain, Wagner to Johann Strauss—came here to partake. Be sure to dine here to savor its low-vaulted rooms adorned with engravings, mounted antlers, and bric-a-brac; the Mark Twain room has a ceiling covered with autographs of the rich and famous dating back two centuries. Adjacent to the tavern is a Greek Orthodox Church co-designed by the most fashionable neoclassical designer in Vienna, Theophil Hansen.
Oct 17, 2006
This narrow street and restaurant are quite charming and a nice diversion from all the baroque sites of Vienna. The restaurant's decore makes you feel as if you've stepped into the world of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. Food was quiet good.