The Griffon

Downtown. 18 Vendue Range. 723-1700

While there’s no shortage of downtown restaurants and bars trying to emulate a British pub or continental tavern atmosphere, somehow the unimposing Griffon seems to grab hold of the Best Authentic Pub category every year. The cozy, brick-walled tavern is a laid-back watering hole nestled right in the middle of the French Quarter hustle-bustle, just a few steps up from the corner of East Bay and Vendue (just a block west of Waterfront Park). The menu features a basic list of deli sandwiches, chicken fingers, chili and soup, burgers, nachos, fried cheese, and clam strips, and the draft beer selection is respectable. How does a voter gauge the authenticity of pub-ness? Not too scientifically. With a decor and wood-table layout resembling a mix of Irish ale house and Bavarian beer hall, there’s nothing too specific about the Griffon’s allegiances. If anything, it’s more like a revived Colonial pub. One almost expects to see General Moultrie and Sergeant Jasper on leave, sharing a pewter mug of pale ale at the bar alongside the sunglassed tourists. Thumbs up for the impressive collection of autographed and scribbled-on dollar bills (and foreign paper currency) tacked to the walls and rafters — a folksy touch in a neighborhood of stuffier fine-dining venues.