THERE ARE a few Savannah staples that every local knows and loves. Great restaurants downtown and in surrounding areas convey the Savannah hospitality that tourists come from thousands of miles to feel.
Just as iconic are the watering holes that don’t pander to the faux Southern vibe that would make Savannah a microcosm of the Fried Green Tomatoes universe.
Edgy and long-standing, The Original Pinkie Masters is one of those neighborhood bars that has been serving drinks and originality to Savannahians and tourists alike for quite some time.
Even though it began as Savannah’s most loved dive bar, Pinkie Masters eventually branched into a beloved sandwich and late-night shop right next door: The Diplomat Luncheonette.
Steady success isn’t enough for some, especially when the desire is to push the envelope. That’s why, when I stopped by the group’s latest venture, Savoy Society, the team was about to finish setting up the revamped space. The doors officially opened to Savannah’s latest restaurant and trendy bar on Halloween night.
The concept takes the best of Pinkie’s and The Diplomat, combines them, and gives them a trend-setting upgrade. Though it did come as a surprise that the team behind the two joints were expanding again, the coolness and uniqueness of the Savoy was anything but unexpected.
Owner Joshua Holland is responsible for the food, and owner Matt Garappolo is heading the bar. The décor was designed by Adam Wordell and features a mixture of rattan, bold colors, one of a kind patterns, and original art from Winston Churchill’s granddaughter.
First and foremost as a restaurant, Savoy Society offers casual but insanely delicious food. The concept is to draw locals in after work for a perfectly crafted cocktail and entice them to stick around with a well thought-out and well prepared quick-serving menu.
While the crew was hustling to finish preparations before opening the doors, Garappolo took the time to talk about the menu with me.
“The whole idea is what you would want to eat after work. So, quick, easy shareable stuff,” Garappolo says. “We got a couple heavy-hitting sandwiches and we have meat and cheese plates, a veg plate, and a couple of salads. A bunch of shareable stuff like sliders and flatbreads.”
Shareable plates include Pickled Deviled Eggs with salty crispy prosciutto and fresh jalapeno, Octopus Tostadas featuring pickled onion and serrano, and Baja Ceviche Tostadas paired with creamy avocado and cotija cheese —which is just to start.
A Bread Plate, Charcuterie, and Cheese Plate are a few more of the showstoppers which grace the shareable portion of the menu.
If you want a something lighter to cap your happy hour, the salads section includes a Chopped Salad and a Curried Waldorf Chicken Salad. Although the Chopped Salad has everything you could want thrown on top of crisp greens, the warm notes of the Waldorf will hit all of your fall cravings.
Because the same genius as the Diplomat is behind this menu, you can expect a selection of sandwiches that are better than even your favorite deli. Patrons will find similar quality but all new recipes.
The Crispy Spam Slider is my first choice considering Spam is as nostalgic as it gets for some people. The Brisket has a twist with a slathering of hoisin mayo.
Sourdough Flatbreads are the closing section of the menu. Moroccan Spiced Beef, Smoked Salmon and Avocado, and the Seasonal Vegetable are the three variations patrons are offered.
Food is only a portion of the equation for Savoy. The bar and its bounty of well-rounded libations is the second part that sets the watering hole apart. There is beer on tap along with wine and several draft cocktails.
“It is super scratch-scratch-scratch cocktails, like nothing crazy. Just really good classics. A bunch of originals, then on the weekends we will do a brunch cocktail menu, so three to four different kinds of bloodies. We will do avocado margaritas,” Garappolo says.
The draft cocktails are fully original. The Chatham Artillery Punch is mixed with local yaupon tea, rye whiskey, Jamaican rum, cognac to smooth it all down, and bubbles to bring it all up.
The Modern Love is the smokier of batch due to smoked salt. The drink comes together with salty tequila, Campari, and pamplemousse. You will find over a dozen more craft variations on the bountiful menu.
The final portion of the equation, and the most important according to Garappolo, is the music. Garoppolo was kind enough to donate part of his own vinyl collection to sit behind the bar.
Surrounding the space is a plethora of mounted speakers and a custom-made station for a DJ.
“It is going to be all vinyl, all the music. An old TV console is the DJ station, and behind the bar we have old records too. So, we have DJs during the day on Saturday and Sunday, and we’ll probably do it Friday night as well,” he says.
Naturally, such a vivacious setting requires events. Brunch is just one of the events the Savoy will host.
Garappolo says that for the mid-day meal, “We will serve food from open to close and do brunch Saturday and Sunday. Brunch will be until three, so it’s going to be later. It’ll be Old Country Brunch and a mix of Mexican food, and then old country records.”
Garappolo has big plans for a Savannah staple, Happy Hour.
“We are going to do a really cool Happy Hour. We’re trying to get after-business happy hour so we’ll have discount food. We’ll gear more towards sours for Happy Hour. It will be daiquiris, pisco sours. Leaning towards lighter, brighter cocktails,” Garappolo elaborates.
Follow Savoy on Instagram or just stop by to learn more about the plethora of events the restaurant will have. cs