The Best of Savannah

Best Downtown Bar
Best College Bar
Best Outdoor Bar

Congress Street Social Club

click to enlarge ALEX NEUMANN
Alex Neumann

Known for its live music and extensive bourbon selection, Congress Street Social Club has continued to be one of Savannah’s top picks for good drinks, good vibes and some very popular menu items.

“We have these burgers and they’re like ‘drunk people magnets,’” General Manager Gregg Dietrich said, laughing. “They are really, really good. It’s like watching flies come to the light when they’re on the grill.”

Along with the typical restaurant and bar features, Congress Street Social Club has the unique feature of a large outdoor patio – and in a year when many people are looking for lots of space and fresh air, the establishment has really leaned into promoting this asset .

The restaurant had actually been in the process of revamping the outdoor grill area which was finished about a week or two before St. Patrick’s Day this year, Dietrich said – which coincidentally lined up with the COVID-19 pandemic and various lockdowns across the country, including Savannah. When they were able to open back up, the large outdoor space with its revamped grill became just the ticket to bring people in and keep everyone drunk, fed and happy.

“The patio is where it’s at,” Dietrich said. “We were able to just pivot our focus from our inside restaurant and bar – the outdoor dining was almost like an afterthought for a while, but now it’s obviously where most of our business is.”

The restaurant hasn’t entirely re-opened to its full menu; the inside kitchen does remain closed and staff keeps the interior space at a lower capacity through the night. But diners can still find those delicious cheeseburgers, as well as all-beef hotdogs, smoked pork and sausages, and even a new addition of smoked tofu.

(It should be noted online reviews also rave about the Frito Pie!)

They’ve also maintained that wide bourbon selection which has been the main draw of their business since the doors opened in 2011. Even the pickiest bourbon connoisseur can surely find something enjoyable among the 200ish options.

“We’ve got several hand-picked single barrels to offer,” Dietrich explained. “And we’ve got some cocktails, a lot of craft beer.”

It’s also usually the spot to hear some great live music, though it’s been a bit quieter than preferred in 2020.

“It’s something we’d love to get back towards doing,” Dietrich said about the live performances. “But the outdoor space is just great. It’s open to dogs, so people who are out just enjoying the evening can come on in, grab a drink, a burger and sit and relax with some friends.”

He attributes all of the restaurant’s success to the patrons – being in Savannah, they do see a fair share of tourists, but over the years Congress Street Social Club has become a real watering hole for locals.

“I think being here for our local audience is a huge piece of our success,” he said. “This past year, it’s been interesting and encouraging to see how everyone has reacted. It’s encouraging to know that these are the people we’re working with.

“We’ve got some great owners, a great staff and a great environment.”

Congress Street Social Club is at 411 W. Congress St. It’s open 3 p.m.-3 a.m. Mondays through Fridays; noon-3 a.m. Saturdays; and 12:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Sundays.

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