EXTENDING UP was a natural progression for Sorry Charlie’s owner Harley Krinsky. The restaurateur has long held the hearts of locals and tourists alike, so reaching for more success seems right. According to him, empty space and opportunity is the perfect reason to do something new.
I will admit, I excitedly watched the restaurateur build and improve the historic building that holds Sorry Charlie’s. As scaffolding went up rumors quickly spread of a new Sorry Charlie’s Tiki bar that would soon hit downtown Savannah. I was pleasantly surprised, as I imagine most fans of the oyster house were, to learn that the expansion included more than just one bar.
Sorry Charlie’s is now a restaurant group, housing the original concept, The Bamboo Room, The Rooftop, and an event space dubbed Gibbons Hall. All four concepts can be found under one historic roof. It is still in the eye of the historic district.
A brand new rooftop bar, The Rooftop at Sorry Charlie’s Oyster Bar, sits over Ellis Square in the heart of downtown. Locals can step away from the crowds of City Market and joyfully watch the masses from above. I know I enjoy the occasional reprieve from the wooing of a bachelorette slow ride. The Rooftop is now the only reclaimed wooden rooftop bar that sits in its central location.
According to General Manager Mike Kent, “Every floor has a unique set of offerings. Every floor has a different cocktail program, there is a little bit of overlap on certain items. Everything is independent to give each floor its own unique feel and identity.”
I am partial to Rooftop’s house made adult slushies, like the Thunder Punch or Pina Colada. Keeping with the airy feel of the top floor, the majority of specialty libations list centers around lighter drinks and champagne features.
Staying refreshed is key for those hotter Savannah months. With ample cover, palm trees, and movable windows, the chic new sky-high watering hole is comfortable no matter the time of year – even without the natural breeze that whisks off the Savannah River. The food menu for City Market central rooftop bar showcases small bites and appetizer based items. The bites have a hint of Polynesian to them, because the same kitchen services the Bamboo Room.
After eating a belly full of fresh hand shucked oysters downstairs then checking out the sunset from the rooftop, you should hit the second floor, or what is now known as the Bamboo Room.
The Bamboo Room is a fully subversive Tiki experience with house made cocktails and bar snacks.
Krinsky explained the idea behind the new concept, “You don’t know what time of day it is. You don’t know where you are. But you know you are in the Bamboo Room. We are transporting you there.”
Every single detail encasing the bar was curated by the team.
“It was a really, really fun build to be a part of. There is a crazy subculture of a subculture of Tiki people that are so intense. We had all kinds of different artisans. Everybody from carvers to people who did stamped paintings, and just a ton of people involved, and just a bunch of grade A carpenters who helped put the dream together,” Krinsky said.
The bar menu was backed by an artisan cocktail enthusiast as well, the team from Alley Cat Lounge and Scott Marshall. They joined up with Krinsky and his team to impart some of their Tiki knowledge into the drink list.
“We spent just as long working on the beverage program as we did building out the space. There has been a lot of time and attention for all of the drinks,” Kent said.
In house, the Bamboo Room features from 150-175 different bottles of rum. Rum enthusiast or not, you will have no problem finding a light or dark rum to your liking. The rum mixed into the Room’s specialty cocktails includes a unique house blended rum, a white spiced and dark rum combination.
“We have a couple of different blends of that we do in house—that is consistent throughout every single rum based drink on the menu,” Kent said.
The house specialties are all plays on original Tiki drinks but with a Bamboo Room twist. For example, the “Charlie Don’t Surf” is an upgraded version of a classic surfer on acid. It has received nothing but a positive response. Instead of a “Singapore Sling,” you’ll get the “Savannah Sling,” created with gin, peach, pinnacle, and lime then served in custom glassware of course. All of the cocktails are painstakingly made with hand juiced mixers and the freshest ingredients.
The food menu centers around high quality seafood but with a Polynesian punch. Crispy Crab Rangoon Puffs, a Seared Tuna Plate, and the Pupu Platter, which is by far the most popular item, can all be tasted as part of your Tiki experience. The Pupu Platter has a sampling of all the best parts of the menu.
If you didn’t quite get enough fresh hand shucked oysters during your first stop downstairs, the bar offers them as part of the Polynesian menu. Because peel and eat shrimp are in constant demand, the sorry Charlie’s team had to include the crustaceans as part of the bar’s menu.
Sundays and Wednesday are special at the Tiki bar. Sundays feature a list of high quality rums for $5. Wednesday’s guests get half price house cocktails.
Sorry Charlie’s, and everything else its team has to offer, has been steadily growing. Multiple concepts, and bars, have given the team a workable space to create social distance for bar seating. Given enough time, I am told, the team plans to host a blowout grand opening for Tiki connoisseurs everywhere.