Savannah has quite a lot to offer to both residents and our guests from out-of-town and Savannahians love to share their knowledge of what to do, see, eat, and of course, drink. Here’s a list of some of our favorites. Consider this a starter course and be sure to find your own favorites!
Where to Stay
In Savannah, the possibilities are endless: there are dozens of B&Bs, such as The Gastonian, The Ballastone, The Kehoe House, and The Eliza Thompson House, as well as hotels such as The Brice, The Cotton Sail, and Andaz, not to mention any number of rentals available on Cora Bett Thomas Vacation Rentals. The most important thing to consider is location — we recommend staying in the Historic District — most everything on this favorites list will be in walking/biking/pedicab distance and you get to immerse yourself in history.
Where Should I Get Breakfast?
The Mate’ Factor, on Habersham Street, is quite amazing. When we last talked about this place, it was still fairly new. Now, it is a beloved neighborhood staple. It is still a cozy little den that can calm even the most agitated spirit, but now we’ve been able to enjoy the menu offerings even more. The egg and cheese sandwich is a thing of beautiful simplicity: 2 eggs, a healthy drape of cheese, and on a fresh made roll. Come the hotter months, an iced green drink is the beverage of choice, but in the cooler temps, an Old St. Joe will satisfy your coffee cravings.
Fork and Dagger is a no-frills place that is serving up some of the best breakfasts you’ve ever seen (hint — lox and cream cheese bagels featuring authentic NY bagels). A personal favorite of Cora Bett herself is Collins Quarter. A beautifully appointed and delicious Southern take on an Aussie style coffee bar and restaurant. Looking for a quick sugar high or a delicious biscuit? Check out Rise Biscuits and Donuts on Broughton Street.
Great Cup of Coffee?
In Savannah, there is no shortage of good coffee right now. We’re lucky enough to have a lot of folks with a passion for coffee, and we get to reap the benefits. For us, The Coffee Fox is near the office, so that’s where we often go. They serve locally roasted Perc coffee, and they have a delicious horchata latte that is great to treat yourself. We’re also pretty much now 100% devoted to the Coffee Fox and their Espresso Tonic.
On the weekends when taking long morning walks hit up either The Sentient Bean or Gallery Espresso — both have great coffee and have been serving up caffeine fixes and small bites for a while. We’ve also had coffee at Savannah Coffee Roasters and at The Foundry, and enjoy and recommend both of these places. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of these businesses, but be aware: some of them have pretty simple coffee menus, so if you’re looking for a Hazlenut Latte or a Toasted Almond Frappucino, these places might not be your cup of … yeah.
Two Tides Brewery is the new kid on the block, and we’ve heard nothing but great things about them, their beers, and their brewery. We’ve yet to visit, but since we are often entertaining beer-loving friends and family, all signs point to us visiting Two Tides. Stay tuned. As for Service Brewing and Southbound Brewing, well, they are still killing it. And of course, Savannah’s old standard, Moon River. All of these places keep churning out more and more beers, and engaging the community with events. We can’t say enough good things about our local breweries.
In Savannah you can hardly take a step without bumping into great art, but if you’re looking for a specific venue, the Telfair Museums is a well-known group of museums that includes the Jepson Center for the Arts and the Telfair Academy, and the SCAD museum is also a great place to visit. We recommend stopping in at Blick Art Materials on Broughton Street, and check out the works by Panhandle Slim. There’s also the Art Rise First Friday Art March in Starland, which is on the first Friday of every month. It’s a great way to check out local vendors and artists in one night. Also, check out the recent addition of Roots Up Gallery, located in the Downtown Design District, which showcases a number of local artists.
Farmers’ Market or Food Market?
The Forsyth Farmers’ Market is great — it’s one of the first farmer’s markets to implement the use of EBT (or tokens) as a form of payment. Not only does the market serve great locally-grown food and flowers every Saturday from 9am-1pm, but the Market is also working to bring fresh produce to urban areas that are unable to access such goods regularly. Do yourself a favor and buy fresh, local food and at the same time support community outreach and education. Win win. The FFM is still rocking and rolling, with more and more vendors every month. Not only is the FFM a great way to support local farmers AND mingle with your neighbors, but they are also engaging in initiatives to bring healthy eating to lower-income families via urban gardening and fresh-food truck deliveries.
We recommend Sandfly Bar-b-q at the Streamliner Diner. The building alone is worth a visit, but the food is worth sittin’ a spell. While the regular menu is good in and of itself, hope that you show up on a night when the “Daily Special” is the “Pulled Pork Quesadilla with Ghost Pepper Cheddar.” Enjoy with any of the craft beers listed (but ask for the draft specials first), and finish it up with whatever homemade dessert is perched serenely under the plastic dome of the cake stand at the bar. You also cannot go wrong with Wall’s B-BQ, tucked a away in a lane in the Historic District. The crew over at Wall’s serves up delicious Southern smoked meats, but leave room for the variety of amazing scratch-made sides.
Hottest new dinner spot?
There are a number of new places opening their doors and receiving a lot of attention, such as Savannah’s iteration of the Charleston favorite, Husk. But if you want to find the locals, Atlantic is the place. This place is so good. Perched on the corner of Drayton and Victory (which makes it a challenging drop off for Uber drivers, so be prepared to give them some coaching), this neighborhood eatery/imbibery is a local favorite. The lot formerly housed a gas station, so the dining room is small, but there is outdoor seating available. Atlantic does not take reservations, but again, the patio makes it worth the wait. Small plates ideal for sharing and reasonably priced, as well as a well-curated wine list, is what makes this place truly Savannahian, as it is ideal for any and every occasion. We also highly recommend El Coyote, which is just down the street from Atlantic. This Mexican-based restaurant is long on style and substance. You can taste the difference in the food and cocktails, but your wallet won’t feel the sting.
Best cocktail bar?
Alleycat Lounge. No question about it. This place is always packed by locals and tourists who have been let in on the secret. This lounge has a menu that can take an entire night to read, but if you leave unsatisfied in your drink order, then it is your fault. These guys know their business, and their business is cocktail-making. Strike up a conversation with anyone on the Alleycat crew and they will help you choose the perfect cocktail if need be.
The live music scene in Savannah just continues to blossom. This year, the Savannah Music Festival held its first outdoor, all-day, multiple-band finale, and it was amazing. If you miss that, you can still catch classic acts such as the funky Voodoo Soup and our homegrown outlaw country band, Damon and the Shitkickers. You can hear Damon and the guys just about every Saturday happy hour at the Jinx. El Rocko Lounge and the Worm Hole feature a constantly rotating lineup of new musical acts.
Where to Stay Out Late?
It’s pretty easy to get a little inebriated in Savannah — that’s the price you pay for allowing people to leave bars with to-go cups. But as far as specific places go, The Rail Pub, recently named the country’s best dive bar, is a wonderful place to stop in for happy hour or a no frills beer and a shot experience. Or if you’re really thirsty, you can grab a 40-ounce Miller Light for $5 (just remember that you should tip at least a buck or 2, so handing over a $5 bill isn’t advisable). McDonough’s is where people often end up at the end of the night, whether they intend to or not. This dive is actually pretty large and well-lit, but trust me — it’s a dive, and all kinds of trouble can be found here. Including karaoke seven nights week as well as one of the few late night kitchens.
Late-night eats spot?
Our new favorite is The Diplomat Luncheonette. Don’t let the name fool you — they are open for lunch (and they deliver!), but this place also reopens at night (usually around 10pm or so). The sandwich shop is located beside local favorite, The Original Pinkie Masters, and serves up delicious gigantic sandwiches on fresh homemade bread, accompanied by some of the most magnificent sides (I’m looking at YOU, charred broccoli with feta).
Tybee Island, of course. South Beach is great to avoid crowds, but there will usually be just enough folks around to take up the few parking spots at that end. North Beach has more parking, plus you can walk up to the bar at North Beach Grill and get a drink. The most important thing is to not set up right by the pier and pavilion if you are looking for a little more of “chill” day at the beach. Instead, set up at either end of the island and then walk around. Fannie’s on the Beach has a deck that overlooks the beach and pier, so if you have an aversion to sand, grab a drink and a chair and watch the waves from there. After the beach, stop at Huc-A-Poo’s before leaving the island for a slice of pizza. The “Poo” is a great local hangout and they have been doing it right for years.
Most underrated spots in the city?
The Frali Gourmet, which is located on Liberty Street across from the Savannah Civic Center. The family run operation has been selling fresh pasta and sauces for years, but they also have a full dining menu, and it is amazing. The family has a connection to one of Savannah’s most famous but closed Italian restaurants of the past as well. The menu features a variety of fresh pastas, your choice of homemade sauces, and you can add proteins to your liking. Call ahead for larger parties and the crew will gladly make arrangements.
In Vino Veritas is a wine bar that we have mentioned before, and most people visit for the wines on tap. But locals stick around for the shareable drink specials, such as ½ off bottles and BOGO bottles late night. The wine bar currently offers small cheese and charcuterie plates, but rumor has it that a partnership with another local favorite is in the works for some killer brunch and daytime food. Stay tuned.
Bluffton, South Carolina. It’s only a 30 minute drive, and it’s a scenic one — lots of palmettos and oak trees and of course the drive over the Talmadge Bridge. Bluffton has its share of shops and eateries, and it’s an easy jaunt. Plus, you get to travel to another state and back in less than a day. One of our favorite restaurants in the area for breakfast and true Southern fare is Cahill’s, which is right outside of Old Town Bluffton. This restaurant-slash-market has been around forever and serves up some of the most delicious breakfast food. It is hands down the BEST chicken and waffles we’ve ever had, especially the spicy chicken version. The larger than average fresh squeezed orange juice mimosas don’t hurt, either.