On a Friday afternoon, I drove up to Orlando before heading to Savannah a few hours later. There were four of us who went to visit the charming Southern city for a fun, birthday weekend. My boyfriend and I were especially excited to return in cooler weather, after a sweltering Memorial Day Weekend trip.
We stayed at The Grant Urban Lofts through HomeAway.com. I highly recommend this spot to anyone visiting the city! It was across the street from the Paris Market, one of my favorite shops, among many other popular must-see places near the river. It was a very modern building, with a key pad access to the building and the unit, which is convenient for a group staying in the unit. No more figuring out who has the key! It had 2 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms and a full kitchen. Not to mention, it was beautiful in minimalistic design.
Although we arrived late and felt pretty exhausted, we had also been sitting in a car for 4+ hours. We decided to hop around the bars a little. We started off at Kevin Barry's Irish Pub by the river for a drink and some live music. After, we landed at a strip of bars along West Congress Street, including Club 51 (tri-level dance club), Barrelhouse South (sports bar) and The Jinx (live music bar). It was crowded on a Friday night!
The Ordinary Pub
After discovering this underground pub back in May, we knew we wanted to return for their $10 bottomless mimosas and indulgent brunch menu. There seemed to be a consistent wait, but you can sit at the bar or opt to get a call when your table is ready. There are plenty of shops to walk around if you need to kill time. Instead, we waited about 40 minutes at the bar and got lucky finding open bar stools.
The bottomless mimosa deal runs from 10am to 4pm (7 days a week!) and the servers are quick to refill, so you have to be careful and keep track! I wanted a small bite in the morning and ordered the Pork Belly Donut Sliders – freshly made donut buns and slow cooked pork belly with bacon onion jam and a gouda cheese sauce. Wow, I know. There were three mini sliders and a small fruit cup, which turned out to be more than enough! Others at the table ordered the Loaded Fritter Tots and the Queen Bee cocktail (warning: spicy).
Top Deck Bar at The Cotton Sail Hotel
With an open afternoon of no set plans, we decided to check out some spots we never made it to last trip. Our first stop is this hotel with a rooftop bar along the river. I would consider it to be a nice but less swanky rooftop than it's neighbor, Rocks on the Roof at The Bohemian. An advantage of this spot? The Top Deck mojito with acai and berries, and outdoor bar seating all the way around the rooftop.
After visiting Top Deck, we met up with our friend's family at this sports bar meets tavern, who were watching the UCF football game (go Knights!). I can honestly say I have never seen so many TVs in one bar – even at the tables! With a large upstairs as well as a bar and seating downstairs, it's a great place for a group or anyone looking to guarantee a seat. They offer a large beer selection and full food menu.
One spot I was dying to visit was The Grey. Initially, I thought the concept was cool – an old Greyhound bus station refurbished into a high-end retro restaurant and bar. Then, I learned they had an oyster happy hour. Once we arrived, we went to the bar, which is in a separate room than the dining area. We ordered our cocktails and went outside to their picnic tables for grill & shuck your own oysters! In all the oysters I have eaten in my life, I have never seen or heard of this concept of diners cooking and/or preparing their own oysters at tableside fire pits. Highly worth the visit!
Savannah Slow Ride
For our friend's birthday, she booked the Savannah Slow Ride – a tradition for her and her family whenever they visit Savannah. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, it's a 100% pedal powered, eco-friendly, 15-person, 2-hour bicycle tour of the city. I've seen people do it before, always laughing at the idea. But it turned out to be a really fun way to do a pub crawl with a group, especially as a tourist! On our trip, we went to Stafford's Public House, The Rail Pub, Tree House and PS Tavern.
I was surprised how hard I had to pedal when I noticed fellow pedalers had stopped. That said, it can accommodate people of any age (over 21 of course). There's also a small bench at the end for those who may want to take a break. My recommendations would be to not bring a lot of stuff (i.e. shopping bags – though they can store it in a small overhead compartment if needed), dress in shorts/pants and wear shoes you can ride a bike in.
The advantages versus a walking pub crawl? The wristband they give you for the tour allows you deals at each of the bars they take you to, and it keeps everyone (relatively) together if you're in a group. Kevin was an awesome tour guide!
Some of our group wanted a refreshing frozen drink to keep the night alive, so we visited Wet Willie's. It was our savior during the heat of summer! Warning: do not order the Call-a-Cab. Not only is it horrible for you, but the combination of strawberry and cherry was disgusting in a cough syrup way.
Circa 1875 Gastropub
After the tour, my boyfriend and I went to this cozy, sophisticated French spot we passed while walking around the night before for dinner. It was a nice change of pace after so many bars! For starters, the bread they give you is to die for! A little dough-y that it melts in your mouth and is paired with a whipped herb butter. We then ordered the Foie Gras en Torchon with sliced baguette and a bing cherry sauce. It was one of those, look at each other with big eyes and a smirk, moments where we simultaneously acknowledged to each other how delicious it was! I have craved it ever since.
McDonough's Restaurant & Lounge
After a bit of gourmet refueling, we met up with the group at a large bar featuring an impressive karaoke scene. The talent was generally strong and the audience were lively and engaging. I personally preferred this karaoke spot to the one we visited later in the night (see below).
Bay Street Blues
After a very long day, we stopped at one more bar that also has karaoke. It was a tacky holiday decorated dive bar with a pretty mixed crowd.
Molly Macpherson's Scottish Pub & Grill
After a slow-moving morning, we stopped for a quick brunch at this Scottish pub. It had the home-y feel that many authentic pubs have, but unfortunately the food and service were nothing to be excited about.
Our friend is 100% gluten-free, so he got a create-your-own pizza at this pizza joint he read about. They cook GF pizzas completely separate to ensure no traces of gluten can be contaminating. It was a success – he didn't feel sick later on!
What's on my list for next trip to Savannah? The Social Club, and returning to Circa 1875! Where are you favorite places to go in the city?