37 Whitaker St./443-9956
A comparative newcomer to the downtown scene, Hang Fire has already done what some places take decades to do: Become a true Savannah institution.
Runner-up, Overall: Murphy’s Law
Runner-up, Downtown: Wild Wing Cafe
Runner-up, College: Loco’s
Best New Bar and Best Wine Selection (Bar or Restaurant)
Bacchus Wine Lounge
102 E. Liberty St.
Bacchus Wine Lounge may have been open for just three months, but it’s already a popular gathering place. Owner Brian Kight chose to open his upscale wine lounge outside the City Market area, a decision that is paying off handsomely.
“We specialize in boutique wines,” he says. “On average, we have 200 of them. Our list changes every month. I always keep something new for people to try.”
Kight says the lounge is different from every other bar in the city. “We’re really trying to represent a post-college crowd,” he says
In designing the lounge, Kight chose to make it a place he would want to go. He decided to open the bar after realizing there wasn’t such a place in Savannah.
“There weren’t a whole lot of places for people to go,” Kight says. “My other friends and I couldn’t find a place where we would enjoy hanging out.”
Bacchus even looks different from most bars. “It’s not the standard 1800s, old-brick building,” Kight says. “There are tons of windows, so the lighting is nice and bright.
“There is an open-area type of feeling,” he says. “People don’t have go all the way into town and fight for parking. It’s close to downtown, but just out of the downtown area.”
Having worked in sports bars, Kight had a good idea of what people would want. “It turned out well,” he says. “We get some tourists, but probably 90 percent of our business is local.”
Bacchus was popular almost before it opened. “The city okayed us three months ago at 6 p.m., and by 8 p.m. we were at full capacity,” Kight says. “It took everybody by surprise.
“Every Saturday night, we always have at least two wedding parties come in,” he says. “They’re already all dressed up and they feel like this is a nice environment. I’m very thankful for everyone supporting me and overwhelmed by that support.” - LS
Runner-up, New Bar: John’s & Friends
Runner-up, Wine: Avida
Best Dance Club & Best Gay and Lesbian Club
1 Jefferson St./232-0200
Despite a seemingly neverending wave of watered-down booty-shaking pretenders on the scene, Club One remains one of Savannah's most beloved party spots — for both gay and straight customers.
Runner-up, Dance: 309 West
Runner-up, Gay & Lesbian: Chuck's Bar
Best Pool Hall
411 W. Congress St./233-1107
B&B has been racking ‘em up —awards as well as billards balls —since we’ve been doing Best of Savannah issues.
Runner-up: Southside Billards
Best Irish Pub
117 W. River St./233-9626
Holding down the west end of River Street for several decades, K.B.’s is named after an honest-to-goodness Irish freedom fighter, who was hanged by the British in 1920 at the age of 18.
Runner-up: Murphy’s Law
Best Islands Bar
140 Johnny Mercer Blvd./898-4257
Actually a pretty hip joint in the heart of Soccer Mom Land, Britannia gives downtown pubs a run for their money in terms of fun and exuberance.
21 E. McDonough St./233-6136
The tunage is back in operation after a hiatus due to a recent fire, at an often-surprisingly high level of skill.
Runner-up: John’s & Friends
52 Barnard St./236-7777
Located in the basement of the old Kress department store building (now home to The GAP) on the corner of Barnard and Broughton Sts., this hip and postmodern restaurant and bar is know for three things: a wide-ranging selection of reasonably priced, upscale appetizers, an industrial chic bar area with an impressive selection of beers, wines and liquors, and for hosting live jazz, blues and lounge entertainment most every night of the week.
Owned by Brian and Julie Curry, the team behind Orleans Brick Oven, a sorely-missed Southside eatery that enjoyed a loyal following for years, Jazz’d offers everything from Mussels with Saffron Broth and Pernod to Potato Leek Frittata with Fig Chutney, and nothing on the menu is over $13. Martini-wise, they have 24 different exotic and original varieties to choose from, including: the Windmill (vanilla vodka, pineapple rum, banana liqueur and pineapple juice with a floater of Grenadine) and the plumsake Tini (plum sake, vodka and Chateau Monet with a squeeze of lemon).
Opening for dinner every day at 4 pm, it’s an extremely popular destination and one of the more unique dining experiences in town. That may be why it was just named Hospitality Small Business of The Year by the Savannah Chamber of Commerce. Learn more at: jazzdsavannah.com. - JR
Runner-up: Lulu’s Chocolate Bar
Best Sports Bar
3016 E. Victory Dr./352-2933
Very few places in our competition have locked up a category year after year as thoroughly as Coach’s has locked up the sports bar segment.
Runner-up: Wild Wing Cafe
Best Neighborhood Bar and No-Frills Bar
318 Drayton St./238-0447
Pinkie himself might be rolling over in his grave at the Ben Crystal for Congress sign in the window of the bar he began back in the days of the solid Democratic South. But hey, at the end of the day everyone is welcome at Pinkie’s.
Runner-up, Neighborhood: Britannia
Runner-up, No-Frills: The Rail
Best British Pub
13 W. Bay St./232-8501
Popular with locals and tourists alike, this Bay Street hotspot is not only an authentic Britpub experience, they have some excellent food to boot.
Runner-up: Six Pence
Best Beer on Tap
21 W. Bay St./447-0943
Hint: Try the sampler first to figure out which batch of beer, which is all crafted onsite, you prefer.
Best Beer Selection (Bar or Restaurant)
John’s & Friends
206 W. St. Julian St.
A brand new winner in an always competitive category.
Runner-up: Wild Wing Café
Best Beer and Wine Selection (Retail)
4618 Habersham St./354-6477
7927 Abercorn St./961-6744
Providing for the party needs of legions of midtown and southside residents for years.
Runner-up, Beer: Moon River
Runner-up, Wine: Johnny Ganem
Best Happy Hour
Chili’s Grill and Bar
7805 Abercorn St./352-3636
They keep winning this year after year, so they must be doing something right.
Runner-up: Johns & Friends
Best Westside Bar
101 Godley Station Blvd./450-0900
A new winner for a brand-new category.
Runner-up: Island Grille
Best Tybee Bar
10 16th St./786-5506
Known far and wide as the oldest bar on Tybee that’s still in business, this is a laid-back watering hole and restaurant just a quick walk from the sand of the beach that can be known to get more than a little wild as the nights go on. The clientele is overwhelmingly local, but that’s not to say that tourists don’t find much to like about this friendly and accommodating place.
The staff is fond of reminding folks that it’s a place where folks can feel free to be themselves, rather than putting on airs. Doc’s draws its fair share of area characters, most of whom have been hanging out there for longer than they —or others— would care to admit, if they could even remember!
Area singer and guitarist Roy Swindelle is a featured house musician who can often be found performing boogie, rock, shag, pop, blues and Americana tunes in the bar, either as a solo act (using pre-programmed backing tracks to flesh out his arrangements) or fronting a small live band of talented locals. Dancing and full-bar sing-alongs are not uncommon at Doc’s. If you’ve lived in this area for any substantial period of time and have never made the trek to this unpretentious establishment, it’s high time you did. - JR
Runner-up: North Beach Grill
Best Southside Bar
Spanky’s Pizza Galley and Saloon
308 Mall Way/355-3383
A longtime favorite of partiers south of Derenne.
Best River Street Bar
101 E. River St./233-5650
While there are eight locations of this no-frills bar and restaurant chain which stretch from Memphis to South Beach, Savannah’s River Street location is the first and original location.
Assistant Manager Anton Withington says the most popular frozen drink by far at this location is the provocatively named concoctions “Call A Cab”, but other customer favorites include the “Mudslide” (a mixture of two flavors — a traditional White Russian and something called Chocolate Thunder) and the potent “Triple Play”, which blends “Call A Cab”, “Attitude Adjustment” and “Sex On The Beach”.
Withington says that since the company’s corporate offices are based here, River Street customers often wind up being the first in the country to taste and rate new frozen drink flavors, such as Kiwi and Mango. He also says this location is proud to have literally hundreds of loyal customers who have been coming there regularly for well over a decade — despite the growing number of frozen drink specialty bars that have sprung up in their wake. - JR
Best Bar Staff
Wild Wing Café
27 Barnard St./790-9464
It’s not just wings that get served in style here.
Patrick @ The Rail Pub
405 W. Congress St./238-1311
Friendly service at a friendly downtown joint off Franklin Square.
Best Adult Entertainment
12 N. Lathrop Ave./233-6930
Tip early and often!
Runner-up: The Gold Club