After Hours Savannah Reveals Trendy Bars, Popular Pubs and Cozy Cafes
By Michelle da Silva Richmond
Travel and Cruise Expert
When the sun sets on this scenic city by the sea, the fun begins, bringing out locals and tourists alike to take part in the revelry. Savannah’s nightlife scene is booming and local establishments offer a variety of options for all ages and interests. Savannah has plenty of options when it comes to bars such as Rocks on the Roof, the Bohemian Hotel's chic rooftop bar with incredible views of the city. If you're more inclined to a "continental" experience, a host of Irish bars and pubs abound, such as Kevin Barry’s and lively McDonough’s Restaurant and Lounge. Other, U.K.-inspired pubs such as Molly McPherson’s (Scottish) and Churchill’s Pub (British), provide a good time and along with authentic cuisine. Local favorites include Circa 1875 Gastropub, Lulu’s Chocolate Bar (dishing up desserts and a full bar) and the romantic Planters Tavern in the basement of the Olde Pink House. Late-night coffee shops such as Gallery Espresso and the Sentient Bean offer a late-night place in which to chill out - often with live music on the weekends. River Street, along the Savannah River is popular after dark and many visitors stroll along the waterfront in search of their favorite music. Summer brings live jazz concerts, Dixieland and Big Band to Johnson Square.
The oldest coffeehouse in Savannah, Gallery Espresso has been popular since it first opened its doors in 1993, offering the perfect alternative to the bar scene. Oversized windows, tastefully mismatched furniture, and a distinct European vibe make it the perfect venue for the variety of coffee blends, tea, wine, small bites and desserts served here. A rotating collection of local art dotting the walls lends a touch of class, while Wi-Fi and excellent customer service appeal to the modern-day need to stay connected. You'll find a steady crowd of customers daily until it closes at 10 p.m. (912-233-5348)
One of the city's most popular live music venues, this Congress Street staple is unpolished and unpretentious, with a laid-back vibe and vaguely Gothic décor. The bartenders are cool and courteous and the place club draws a wide range of clientele from punk rock college students to tattooed hipster types and out of town visitors who come to view the eclectic groups performing here. The Jinx has played host to some of the hottest bands around since it first opened in 2003. Music ranges from rock, metal, country, alternative and hip hop. Open Monday - Saturday 4 p.m. - 3 a.m. (912-236-2281)
22 Square Bar
Tucked into the hip Andaz Savannah in the Historic District, 22 Square is the current darling of Savannah nightlife. The ambiance is chic and lively, drawing locals and visitors alike to partake in the "art of the cocktail," as performed by talented mixologists who shake, stir and pour the perfect blend of signature cocktails, topped off - of course - by Southern hospitality. Classic and contemporary cocktails are created from fresh juices and blended with homemade elixirs, tonics and artisanal liquors, culminating in favorites such as the Savannah Fizz, Tybee Breese or the Georgia Julep. Locally made brews, imported lagers and draft and bottled beer are also available along with an impressive list of wines, by the glass or bottle. A menu of small plates offer a tasty blend of domestic and imported meats, cheeses and accompaniments, perfect for snacking on. (912 233 2116)
B&D Burgers - Congress Street
Four convenient locations throughout Savannah make this popular, locally owned burger joint easily accessible to anyone looking for good food in a pleasing ambiance. Since they first made the scene in 2001, B&D Burgers has been wowing locals and tourists alike with tasty comfort food, premium burgers, beer, and excellent service. The Broughton Street location in the Historic District houses a large outdoor patio with a huge projection screen on which you can watch all of the big games. The patio is a "hot spot" for late-night fun and draws a big crowd. B&D's extensive menu features appetizers, salads, sandwiches, hot dogs and an unbelievable selection of specialty burgers - including "build your own" options with 30 optional ingredients. . ((912) 238-8315)
Molly MacPherson's Scottish Pub & Grill
Named after the owners' great-grandmother, Molly MacPherson Scottish Pub is the "real deal," when it comes to decor, menu and ambiance. An ample roster of single malts, a dose of Scottish culture and kilt-clad waiters and bartenders add to the experience. A stately wooden bar and inviting fireplace flanked by comfy chairs lend a warm atmosphere. Add this to the tasty selection of Scottish pub fare such as meat pies, Guinness onion rings, bangers and mash and shepard's pie along with the long list of scotch, traditional beer, wine and cocktails - you could well be in Bonnie Scotland. (912-239-9600)
Circa 1875 Gastropub
Described as an "unpretentious" French bistro, this swanky bistro- pub blends Old World charm with delectable French cuisine in an elegant setting. The site of a former Irish pub, the bar - which offers more casual dining - and restaurant are divided into separate areas, each displaying a chic blend of tiled floors and beautiful carved wood throughout. Circa 1875 offers an ample selection of boutique wines, imported draught beer, time-honored cocktails and "designer" martinis. Those visiting the gastropub will enjoy the menu, which includes a mouthwatering selection of traditional French cuisine including escargot and pâté as starters, followed by main dishes like steak frites or cassoulet. Mussels steeped in fennel, shallots, and white wine (ask for extra bread to sop up the delicious broth) are a sure bet. For dessert, try the gooey carrot cake, topped with cream cheese frosting. The attentive staff can suggest a wine pairing for your meal. (912-443-1875)
Jazz'd Tapas Bar
Located in Savannah's Historic District, Jazz'd has been described as a "swank, sexy and sultry," an apt description for this unusual tapas-style restaurant. Located in the basement of the historic Kress building, this sultry underground "hot spot" draws locals and visitors to its sleek serpentine bar and eclectic drink menu boasting an ample wine list and more than 25 types of martinis. Topping the list: the Chocolate Martini, Cookies and Cream Martini and El Diablo - made with Mexico Select Blue Agave, Marie Brizard cassis, lime juice and ginger beer. Those in search of a late-night snack can choose from the ample "Americanized" tapas menu featuring - among other things - selections from chorizo sliders to truffle frites and Cuban quesadillas. Live music six nights a week offers blues, swing, jazz and classical vocals in the style of Sinatra or Savannah's own Johnny Mercer. (912-236-7777)
It was a speakeasy in the Roaring 20s and while it's now a favorite with locals and visitors alike, the Distillery isn't really a distillery - it's popular bar. Frequented by beer drinkers with discerning palates, it's not the place to go for a cheap brew. If you're hooked on "ordinary" beer, you've come to the wrong place. While it proudly advertises on its walls that it doesn't serve some of the more popular brands (think Miller, Bud and Coors), it does offer some 100 craft beers. Among the rotating selection of the 21 beers on tap are Wild Heaven Let There Be Light, Sweetwater Georgia Brown Ale and Weyerbacher Insanity, to name a few. The Distillery also has a great selection of wine and cocktails, as well as tasty finger food, sandwiches, burgers, salads and more, making it the perfect late-night hangout. ((912) 236-1772)
Congress Street Social Club
A popular night spot for mingling and making new friends,Congress Street Social Club is always bustling with activity and live entertainment, just a block away from City Market. A large outdoor patio and bar,along with a ground level bar and another one in the basement offer plenty of choices. Pool tables, dartboards and an old-fashioned photo booth add more the action. The selection of drinks are reasonably priced and the food menu offers a diverse - and tasty - range of eats, ranging from friend pickles to nachos, burgers, quesadillas and mac and cheese. Live bands are usually on hand to liven things up. (912-238-1985)
Rocks On the Roof
The hip, indoor-outdoor rooftop Rocks on the Roof is the perfect vantage point from which to view the city while sipping signature drinks. Perched atop the trendy Bohemian Hotel, it boasts far-reaching views of downtown Savannah, River Street and the Savannah River. Indoor-outdoor space allows ample seating indoors if you wish to be in the middle of the action - or on a large patio - with a fire pit for chilly nights - if you prefer a quieter atmosphere. An extensive selection of wines, martinis and signature drinks complement a tapas-style menu for those who want a bite to eat. Live entertainment is part of the regular scene. ((912) 721-3901)
Michelle da Silva Richmond is an award-winning travel editor and member of the Society of American Travel Writers and other journalism organizations. She has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, consumer and trade magazines and in-flight publications. In addition, she has co- authored and contributed to many guide books and was a weekly travel columnist for a metropolitan Connecticut daily newspaper. Growing up abroad, combined with a colorful career as a Pan Am flight attendant fueled her wanderlust and passion for travel. She lived in Mexico City for nearly 20 years and has visited nearly 100 countries. Her bags are always packed.
Read more about Michelle da Silva Richmond here.