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Countdown to Savannah: Any Time is Party Time in Savannah

Kathy Wood (kaydee)

In early 2007, we started our official Countdown to Savannah. Each Sunday, we posted a different topic about this special city where we met for our first Great Slow Travel Gathering in Spring 2008.

With 63 posts over 14+ months, we learned a lot about the many facets of this historic, hospitable and intriguing American city. Our weekly posts touched on Savannah's history, famous people, architecture, food, culture, surrounding area and much more. We hope this information acquaints you with Savannah, entices you to visit this historic city, and prepares you for a very memorable trip.

Party Any Time of the Day in Savannah

I’m inspired to write this just a few days after our “Savannah Chat,” as it seems there might be some interest in Savannah’s nightlife. Let’s be honest here — in addition to all its history and culture, Savannah has a reputation as a party city. You can party in Savannah any time of day ... and also in many different ways. In today’s post, we’ll talk about Savannah’s nightlife: pubs, bars, clubs, lounges, and coffeehouses. There are nightlife options for all ages and interests.

I need to begin with a few words about drinking in Savannah. The city is known for its open container law, which I reviewed here to make sure I provide accurate information (this article originally written 11/11/07). You're allowed to carry out ONE plastic or paper cup of an alcoholic beverage, 16 ounces or less, within a defined area of Savannah. (The area is bounded on the north by the river and on the south by Jones Street.) The open container priviledge doesn’t apply to a can, bottle or glass. And, you can’t have an open container in a motor vehicle, whether you are the driver or passenger.

Savannah does have fairly strict drunk driving laws, including a 0.8 percent blood-alcohol level. According to the Savannah's Insiders Guide, one of the city’s special concerns is protecting their narrow city tree-lined streets. Fortunately, Savannah is very much a walking city.

Besides your rental house or the bar in your hotel, where else can you enjoy relaxing with friends over a casual drink in Savannah? Here are a couple of recommendations.

Jan, Leslie and I took advantage of Savannah’s open container laws during our January “scouting trip” to Savannah with a stop at Wet Willies on River Street. This chain of frozen-drink bars is located in a number of party cities in the southeast. They may cater more to a younger crowd, but hey ... we enjoyed ourselves! You can sample before you buy. Flavors include Mojito Mojo, Attitude Improvement and Call a Cab. There are at least 20 choices of frozen drinks, all visible behind the bar. In addition to more traditional daquiris, several of the drinks feature pure grain alcohol. (I’m having vague memories from my college days…)

There are several British and Irish pubs in Savannah. Kevin Barry's Irish Pub on West River Street is one of the most popular, featuring a river view and live Irish music. They sell cigars, single malt scotch, and a wide assortment of beers.

Churchill's Pub, located on West Bay Street, is British-owned and operated. They offer 20 different draught beers (mostly imported), and also have a restaurant featuring many traditional British pub dishes. The Six Pence Pub is in a quieter area of town (245 Bull Street) with some outdoor seating. The pub was featured in the movie “Something to Talk About.” They also serve a variety of beers and wine and pub food.

The Moon River Brewing Company, on West Bay Street, is Savannah’s only brew pub.

A Vida Restaurant and Wine Bar (113 West Broughton Street) was recognized for “Best Wine Selection” by Savannah Magazine’s annual poll. According to the Frenchtowner website, “Vida offers an outstanding selection of wines by the glass and by the bottle, an in-house wine expert who tastes thousands of wines every year and a contemporary menu.”

Jazz'd Tapas Bar was highlighted by Savannah magazine in several categories: best live entertainment, best martini, and best appetizers. Jazz’d is located at the corner of West Broughton and Barnard (underneath the Gap).

Venus de Milo (38 Martin Luther King Boulevard) was recognized for best happy hour.

For something different, Savannah Smiles sounds like fun... especially for a group. Located on Williamson Street (between West Bay Street and River Street, apparently behind the Quality Inn), this club features “rock and roll dueling pianos” and lots of audience participation. There’s karaoke on Sunday nights.

Some of our group may prefer a more refined environment. If so, consider the lounges at 17 Hundred 90 on East President Street (one of Savannah’s most famous haunted houses); the tavern at the Olde Pink House on Reynolds Square (live music on Saturday nights); or Casimir’s Lounge or Bosendorfer Lounge at the Mansion on Forsyth Park. Jan, Leslie and I enjoyed drinks and appetizers on the Mansion's terrace during our January visit-- pricey, but a very special atmosphere. (See Jan's review on our Gathering webpage.)

Others may be more interested in a coffeehouse. Gallery Espresso at the corner of Bull and Perry was recognized in several publications as the best coffeehouse in Savannah. They’re open till 11 pm on Saturdays and Sundays and feature exhibits by local artists. Another popular coffeehouse is The Sentient Bean, on East Park Avenue, just south of Forsyth Park. They're open until 10 or 11 pm and often feature live music. You’ll also find a couple of Starbucks in the Historic District.

Last, I know we have at least one Slow Travel couple who enjoys a good tea room. Although it’s not open at night, The Tea Room (East Broughton Street) is highly recommended and features lunch as well as afternoon tea and high afternoon tea.

Learn more about the nightlife in Savannah:

Savannah Pub Guide

Savannah Best – Savannah Nightlife


All About Savannah: Links to many information pages about Savannah (where to eat, where to stay, places of interest, getting around town, and more)

Woods Family Grand Tour of Europe: List of articles and photo albums by Kathy Wood

Kathy is a former Human Resources executive who now works as a consultant and part-time college professor. She and Charley also lead The Luberon Experience (www.luberonexperience.com), a week-long, small-group trip based in Provence.

© Kathy Wood, 2007

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