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Where to Drink in Savannah

Southern charm. Southern hospitality. Southern architecture. Southern drawls.

Savannah, also known as the Hostess City, is a great place to vacation, eat comfort foods and take long walks under moss-covered Oaks. But the city has so much more to offer locals, visitors and prospective residents.

The European-inspired town—which has made a 180-degree turn over the past 40 years, breathing new life into a once-dilapidated place straight out of a ghost story, while somehow managing to maintain its original beauty and long, complicated history—has the most glorious open container policy.

Yes, you read that right. Establishments here are not only diverse (they range from super simple to specialty); when you’re ready to hop from one to the next, you can grab a plastic to-go cup at the door and keep the bar crawl moving. Make sure to wear comfy walking shoes—the possibilities are endless (as are the cobblestone streets) in this historic downtown.

Divey Bars

Established in 1953, the Original Pinkie Masters is cash only and real cheap. You can buy beer for $3 a pop here and happy hour means $1 off everything. This is a PBR kind of place and one Jimmy Carter allegedly used to frequent.

Then there’s Carlito’s Mexican Bar & Grill—this is really more of a restaurant, but we’ll keep it in the bar category because their frozen house margaritas are unlike any other. Choose between small, medium or large and flavors like mango, strawberry and classic lime. One medium margarita could lead to bad or great decisions depending on your outlook (wink, wink).

A Lincoln-themed tavern (lots of presidential vibes in this category), which is also on the corner of Lincoln Street, Abe’s on Lincoln is a dog-friendly local haunt. With open mic night on Monday, trivia on Wednesday, drink & draw on Thursday and a vinyl-spinning DJ on Friday, there’s always something to look forward to at this bar.

Classy Spots

Get a little dressed up, why don’t you? Fancy is fun in Savannah and means classic glamour, instead of the go-to sparkle and shine of “fancier” cities like L.A. or New York.

A Parisian-style bistro, Circa 1875 offers French cuisine and an extensive wine selection in a 19th century-inspired space.

The Olde Pink House, infamous to residents and visitors alike, is a gorgeous Colonial mansion serving Southern food. Lesser known to travelers is its cellar tavern (my personal favorite), with live music and beautiful cocktails.

Named Savannah’s best craft cocktail bar, Artillery is a restored landmark with a 19th-century flair and lots of rules (no tank tops, no sandals, no hats, no shots, no cell phones), but it’s 100 percent worth a visit to this stunningly-designed space. The drinks—with names like Coffee & Cigarettes and All the Pretty Horses—do not disappoint.

Rooftops/Al Fresco Imbibing

In such a small town, you’d think there wouldn’t be so many rooftops to choose from. But hotels (and a couple restaurants) really get it right in Savannah. During milder months—summer can be brutal when the weather is steamy, buggy and muggy—there’s nothing like an elevated drinking experience with a view.

Hop from one rooftop to the next starting at the Mansion on Forsyth Park and ending at the Bohemian Hotel’s Rocks on the River (with stops along the way at the new Peregrin at the Perry Lane Hotel and Perch at Local 11 Ten in between).

It’s a coffee shop sans rooftop, but too good to exclude from this list: Foxy Loxy Cafe feels like home—the two-story bar serves tacos, pastries, beer and wine and hosts Acoustic Tuesdays and Fire & Wine Saturdays in its cozy backyard. It’s rumored that marshmallow roasting happens at Foxy sometimes, too.

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