Best New Bar 

The Original

Farewell to Pinkie's

Farewell to Pinkie's

A photographic chronicle of the last hours of the fabled Savannah dive bar Pinkie Masters, now closed.

By Geoff L. Johnson

Click to View 10 slides

Since time immemorial, the Hopi tribe have lived atop the same three mesas in the Arizona desert. You can drive through them today on State Route 264.

The tribe has an ancient teaching that the end of the world is nigh when the Hopi come down from the mesas. So to keep the world intact, the tribe remains there no matter what, millennium after millennium, in the same adobe houses.

Savannah has its own much less stately version of the Hopi legend:

The Savannah Apocalypse will surely come when there is no longer a bar within 318 Drayton Street.

So how very Savannah that the Best New Bar this year would in a sense be one of our most beloved old bars.

The Original—named for the moniker on the big PBR sign out front—is of course the reincarnation of Pinkie Masters’, Savannah’s most legendary watering hole and one of the nation’s great dive bars.

The owners of the Pinkie’s name ran into a variety of difficulties in keeping the business open at the hallowed location at Drayton and Harris, and a few months ago relocated their effort, under the Pinkie’s name, to a Factors Walk location.

For awhile, we all feared the worst: That another tourist tchotchke shop or frozen yogurt place would occupy the hallowed ground of the old Pinkie’s.

But the cosmos returned to natural order when Matt Garappolo, of Sapphire Grill fame, took over the spot. The key point: He kept it as a by-damn bar.

The Original not only maintains the dive bar vibe of Pinkie’s, it pretty definitively solves the issues which contributed to the erosion of the Pinkie’s brand in the first place, i.e., it’s cleaner (but not too clean), it smells better (but not too fragrant), and the bathrooms are now significantly above Third World quality.

Add in a new, welcoming vibe and the traditional low-low Pinkie’s drink prices, and you’ve got yourself a winner in the mold of the venerable, um, original.

Some of the old Pinkie’s memorabilia is intact, and in instances where they couldn’t keep the exact artifact—as with the famous “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s” vintage ad poster—they acquired replicas.

Meanwhile, and sadly, the “new” Pinkie’s location bearing the historic name at last check appears to have died a-borning. — Jim Morekis

Runner-up: Ampersand


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