Savannah’s Pride Festival runs from October 25-27, but you can find a welcoming mix of cuisine, culture and camaraderie at these LGBT-owned or -friendly establishments any time of the year. The Hotel Indigo Savannah Historic District is perfectly situated to help you explore the city’s own brand of Southern hospitality:
Food and Drink
Chuck’s Bar is a late-night dive that’s not really a gay bar, so much as the chosen destination for the neighborhood LGBT crowd. With its diverse clientele, affordable drinks and questionably loud Wednesday night karaoke, it’s an unpretentious way to experience some local culture. (Note there’s a dress code requiring men to wear sleeves.)
A popular espresso bar and brunch destination, The Collins Quarter takes its name from Collins Street, the hub of Australia’s cafe capital. Fashioned after similar Melbourne establishments, this stylish, airy space serves cold brew, avocado toast and authentic “Aussie brekkie,” as well as lunch and dinner.
Tucked above the American Prohibition Museum, Congress Street Up is a swank, speakeasy-themed bar committed to the motif. Here, skilled bartenders in vintage 1920s attire pour complex, old-school cocktails, plus nostalgic brandy-based punches and even moonshine served in a small porcelain bathtub.
One of Savannah’s oldest restaurants, Crystal Beer Parlor, started out in the early 1900s as a grocery store. After the repeal of Prohibition, it became one of the first places in the country to pour alcohol again. These days, it serves reliable American fare, plus must-try Southern classics like fried green tomatoes and creamy crab stew.
Raised in Savannah, Chef Mashama Bailey spent time honing her skills at such acclaimed New York City restaurants as Prune. Back in Savannah, her chic art deco space, The Grey, occupies a renovated 1930s Greyhound station and provides Italian-influenced Southern comfort food like quail Madeira with blackstrap molasses.
Since opening in 2009, TheWormhole has grown from a small local haunt to a major venue for live comedy and indie music. In addition to local and regional acts, expect weekly open mics and trivia, plus an arcade, billiards and darts.
John Berendt’s iconic book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, featured included several iconic Savannah citizens, including legendary drag queen The Lady Chablis, who played herself in the film version. She continued to perform at Club One until her passing in September, 2016. Today, this three-story dance club continues her tradition and features a video bar, $1 Jello shots and regular drag shows.
Located on the fringe of Ellis Square, Jazz’d Tapas Bar — a basement-level hot spot — offers small plates, sophisticated craft cocktails and live music six days a week. The vibe is sexy, while the musical mood ranges from blues to jazz to swing.
Open since 1993, Gallery Espresso is a funky, Bohemian cafe offering a monthly rotation of exhibits featuring local artists.
Woman-owned Austin Hill Realty sponsors Location Gallery, where show earnings are designated to local nonprofits, including the Savannah LGBT Center.
A decidedly un-Gothic view of the South, the SCAD Museum of Art is part of the Savannah College of Art and Design and features modern, often avant-garde, exhibitions.
Drink in the city’s iconic tree-lined squares with Architectural Tours of Savannah. Guide Jonathan Stacup’s expertise encompasses everything from the 18th Century clapboard homes of the Georgian period through contemporary design.
Those looking for unique speciality boutiques and funky antique shops need go no further than the Downtown Design District. Whether you’re seeking an item for your home or a gift to take back, they’ve got it.
24E Design Co.could best be summarized as “Southern style with an edge.” The upscale, contemporary store specializes in furniture design and home accessories.