Savannah’s culinary flair has hit the fan, enticing visitors to dive into the city’s storied (and spooky) past drink in hand.
They can do so at the newly opened American Prohibition Museum, the first of its kind in the US, which also features an on-site speakeasy and 1920s cocktails. The Savannah Food & Wine Festival should be at the top of the to-do list for a hyperlocal culinary experience. The annual November festival winds through the Historic District next to the Savannah River with master classes, celebrity chef dinners, exclusive tasting events and community-centric outdoor feasts. are just the beginning. This year, a “Taste of Savannah” is the main highlight, with wine exhibitors, food booths, cooking demonstrations, celebrity cookbook signings, an artisan market and beer garden to boot. A new indoor/outdoor VIP Lounge and private tent and bars will also offer a catered gourmet experience.
A “secret” Savannah speakeasy is also in the works that will feature some of the best hand-crafted local cocktails and craft brews, with music and entertainment reminiscent of the city’s prohibition days. Attendees can start the journey by grabbing a souvenir glass (and filling it up with wine, spirits and Belgian beer) for a stroll along River Street and its century-old buildings that house galleries, boutiques, pubs and restaurants.
Along the way, drop by the rooftop bar at the 160-suite Homewood Suites by Hilton Savannah Historic District/Riverfront for a craft beer or shipyard margarita. The newly opened hotel is housed in a 19th century cotton warehouse. Groups will also pass (by Segway if they’d like) the famous Mercer House from the novel “Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil,” now the Mercer-Williams House Museum. The boutique Cotton Sail Hotel’s and River Street Inn, both converted from 19th century cotton warehouses still retain their charms with 200-year-old hardwood floors and other hints of the past. Head to the Cotton Sail’s Top Deck rooftop bar for wines and local brews and what are arguably some of the best views in the city. The Inn, meanwhile, has retained its original brick interior walls, original fireplaces and exposed beams—definitely worth a gander. Adjacent to the Inn is the Olde Pink House, one of Savannah’s most popular restaurants that’s also housed in an 18th century mansion, while the nearby River House serves up local favorites like crispy scored flounder and shrimp & grits from within, you guessed it, a converted cotton warehouse.
Lastly, it’s kind of a rite of passage to plunge your meeting or incentive group into Savannah’s best “haunts.” Consider booking a tour with 6th Sense World’s ghost and cemetery tours; Old Town Trolley Tours of Savannah offers its own hop-on, hop-off “Ghosts & Gravestones” tour of some of the cities most haunted places, including the Sorrel Weed House, which was determined to be a definitely spooky place by investigators on the SyFy Channel’s hit TV show “Ghost Hunters.” Groups can expect historical characters from days gone by to board the trolley periodically, enlivening an already eyes-wide-open experience.