THIS PAST weekend marked the grand opening for Moodright’s, an opening I’ve been following for quite some time along with so many other locals. Moodright’s is Savannah’s first duckpin bowling alley (in quite a while) and cocktail lounge, and its location makes it the closest bowling alley to the historic district.
Since the end of 2018 owners Chris Moody—we aren’t related—and Steuart Wainright hit the ground running to open the watering hole.
So what is duckpin bowling, you ask? Put simply, a condensed version of the classic with a ball that weighs around three pounds and pins a quarter of the size of normal ones. That means the lane is shorter as well.
Moody invited me to try some drinks and my hand at the fractionary sport. He happily answered all of my questions about the retro inspired bar.
The story goes, according to Moody, “My partner, Steuart Wainright (hence the name Moodright’s), and I wanted to create a neighborhood destination that encouraged engagement.
‘Starland was key in the concept of Moodright’s as we wanted to stray away from your typical large scale ‘bowling alley.’ This is more of a bar with bowling. Steuart also does not drink alcohol, and he wanted a place that offered more than typical bar activities. All are welcome!”
A true neighborhood bar means a friendly face pouring drinks and reasonable prices to boot.
“Steuart and I made sure to be fair on the pricing considering we’re a neighborhood spot. We also wanted to differentiate ourselves by offering specials that are fun, engaging, and not normally seen,” Moody tells me.
Because of the location south of downtown, patrons can save on rideshare or cab fare yet still get the same low-priced beers that are normally served by the pitcher under the fluorescent lights of an outdated bowling lane.
There are four lanes tucked perfectly together within eyesight of the bar.“While our lanes are not regulation by duckpin standards, we saw mini duckpin bowling as a way to offer gaming in a unique, intimate, and laid back way,” explains Moody.
If bowling is not really your thing, you can entertain yourself with pool or darts—or bingo according to Moody:
“We will host Bingo regularly on Tuesdays from 8-10pm, and we have a Wednesday League Night planned for the fall,” he says.
“Personally, I normally find myself at the local Veterans of Foreign War for a good bingo night, but I have a feeling that with such a laid back yet snazzy spot I have found myself a new spot for the exclamatory game.”
Of course I asked about the decor. The building once housed a music store and now looks nothing like its past.
“Our decor was sourced over the past few years from friends and family, thrift stores, antique stores, etc. We put a large amount of effort into putting this place together, so each piece was hand selected to give it the vibe we were looking for,” Moody explains.
The Starland District has seen quite the resurgence of happening bars and Moodright’s is another on-trend addition to the area. Moody made one thing very clear to me:
“We are not a craft cocktail bar—please go to Lone Wolf! But we wanted to offer a few fun house drinks. I was the primary creator of the menu. Jackson DuMouchel assisted with the layout and branding, and Carter King (Futurebirds) drew the illustrations and primary logo.”
The Pabst Blue Ribbon mural painted on the bricks outside of the building was created by Ham Smith.
I think Moody is just being modest because everything I tasted acted as the perfect lubricant to loosen your wrist before chucking a tiny ball down a lane. Just like the atmosphere, the drink menu is not fussy.
One of my favorite beer variations is offered by Moodright’s, the Michelada, an ice-cold Tecate smothered in hot sauce, worcestershire, tajin, and lime. Refreshing yet spicy, a drink to really confuse the senses.
The last time I popped in, I tried the Border Lord. A sweet and smoky cocktail made with mezcal, lime, aperol, and Fanta poured over ice. Order one to follow the Michelada; the syrupy orange soda coats your tongue to cool it down.
Similar to the last two, The Sea of Cartezz, has a south of the border note. It is a bubbly drink mixed with salty tequila, peach grapefruit soda, tajin, and a squeeze of fresh lime.
For those who favor less savory drinks, a rotating features slushie will be available. Ideal to help cool down during Savannah’s confusingly steamy fall months, last week’s slushie was gin and tonic inspired.
House Specials include The Begger’s Banquet which is one slushie, one beer, a pack of cigarettes, and two rounds of bowling. $8 gets you two fingers of G&B scotch and a classic gold watch. For $6, Moodright’s will provide you with a cheap beer of your choice and a shot. And finally, if you are truly stretched but still want to be a part of the party, the Bogan allows you Fosters to share for $5.
Food is not on the menu at Moodright’s but Moody and Wainright are looking out for those patrons that need some sustenance after a few rounds.
Moody says,“No food, but we are planning to partner with Lone Wolf on coordinating food trucks to offer meals on a more consistent basis.”
If you can, drop by this week and check out the hip joint for yourself. And if not, do not worry; the duo plans on hosting plenty of events in the future.
According to Moody, “We’re joining Lone Wolf for their one-year anniversary party. No events planned for the immediate future, but do have a few things in the works. Keep a lookout on our Instagram.”