We so expected to love Savannah. It seems everyone else does–we’d heard about the charming squares, the lovely architecture, the great places to eat.
The squares were certainly pretty. But what we also found were hoards of tourists, a rather dingy shopping district, and drunk people. Lots and lots of drunk people. They were on the jump on, jump off trolley (we jumped off before it left) and walking the streets.
Savannah is an open container district, the chief effect of which, at least on the early December Saturday we visited, makes it a magnet for middle-aged people to throw down on tour trolleys and partake in bachelorette parties involving quite a bit of hysterical laughter and a good deal of stumbling.
Understand, we are unapologetic drinkers. We’re just looking for some refinement when we imbibe. Luckily I’d researched Artillery, a civilized, grown-ass bar and a respite from the Solo Cup crowd.
Located at 307 Bull Street, Artillery Bar’s historic, iconic storefront dates back to 1886. The building served as an armory–from which the bar name takes its cue–for the Georgia Hussars, a cavalry unit founded before the American Revolution. The unit continues today as part of the Georgia National Guard.
The building has had many lives, but thankfully its other incarnations involved covering things up rather than ripping them out, so the charm of the original brick walls and other original features remain.
This place is a class act. They have house rules that include a strong bias against tank tops, cut-offs, and flip-flops. From the website: “Act like the lady or gent you are: no shouting or other obnoxious behavior.. No bombs, no shots, no Budweiser, sorry.” (Sorry not sorry.)
They have a wonderful wine list, some good beer and, best of all, handcrafted cocktails. You can have an Old-Fashioned or a Sazerac. But the Contemporary Cocktails menu is where it gets delightful. You could experience, for example, a Forsyth Park at Dark (teeling Irish whiskey, high wire amaro, lemon, blackberries, mint) or a Bloodline (Pimms No. 1 gin, blood orange, lime, thyme syrup, watermelon).
We sat, as is our habit, at the bar, but the tables are lovely and have–wait for it–call buttons. When you need a break from all the matching t-shirts, this is your spot.