Posted on June 3, 2016 by Emilie Kefalas
An ambiance of aerial perspective elevates an evening’s dining experience, quite literally, to new heights. The view, no matter how marvelous or complimentary of the dish served, cannot be appreciated unless the weather cooperates. Because Savannah is spared the stall of winter, tornadoes and hurricanes (most of the time), it is possible to enjoy rooftop dining year round. The Savannah River and the neighboring peaks of architecture are the Historic District’s entrees of scenery for some of the city’s first-rate rooftop restaurants and bars.
Rocks on the Roof
Visitors can explore the row of River Street’s finest establishments, including The Bohemian Hotel Riverfront. This swanky boutique hotel boasts some of the city’s best views seen from its hub of height and taste, Rocks on the Roof. With views of the Savannah River and Talmadge Bridge, Rocks on the Roof not only offers a rooftop bar with indoor seating, but also an abundance of tables and couches for lounging outdoors while sampling their addicting truffle fries. Take a seat under the “roof” with a full bar and grill at your service or at one of the tables near the bar’s ledge with a blue-flamed fire pit, live entertainment and a delicious assortment of American comfort food, from hamburgers with a Southern twist to fish and mussels.
Hospitality neighbor to Rocks on the Roof is the Cotton Sail Hotel, on top of which guests will find rooftop restaurant and bar, Top Deck. Up on the bar’s platform, visitors get an authentic sampling of Savannah’s colorful cuisine through Top Deck’s signature craft cocktails and small, shareable plates. Regular bar table and chairs fill the roof’s center while the bar and its chairs literally wrap around the roof, ensuring a panoramic view no matter which seat you choose.
Not quite as lofty as its neighbors on River Street, but certainly up in the air, Churchill’s Pub has its own rooftop terrace, in addition to Winston’s wine cellar, which is downstairs with a street-level entrance. Their intimate outdoor area features a reflection of Churchill’s interior with flags fanning the food and folks below the decor. Black iron tables sit prepped for hungry visitors in what feels like an airy English courtyard above the business of Bay Street. The space is just enclosed enough to make for a more intimate and spirited ambience fit for eating, drinking and watching the world as a Brit does. The pub serves over 150 selections of wine along with a variety of craft beers and signatures cocktails, including the Bay Street Breeze and the British Bulldog.
Further away from the river, but no less scenic, is the view from the Public Kitchen & Bar’s rooftop area, which overlooks the intersection of Bull and Liberty Streets. Tables seat parties as intimate as two to groups as large as six beneath a canopy of cast-ironwork and black umbrellas. The terrace is cozy with not too large a space, but enough to get up and peer over the roof’s fence at the constant parade of street activity. The Public’s bistro fare is inspired by Executive Chef Brandy Williamson’s fusion of traditional Southern cuisine with French flavor. Visitors can go unnoticed above Liberty’s promenades of tour groups and shoppers, making for a priceless observation dining deck. You will be able to spy on the streets as the trees do.
Local 11 Ten’s Perch
The river’s view undoubtedly adds an element of character to local dining, but Forsyth Park’s canopy of Spanish moss shelters enough green space for more people (and dog) watching. Right off the park’s south side is Local 11 Ten’s appropriately named rooftop roost, Perch. If you seek a sliver of peace incarnated as a cocktail or breeze amid a crowded day’s humidity, Perch provides a unique setting in balance with the natural environment. Wood panels spread from the floor to the bar with white cushioned chairs arranged for an afternoon of relaxed lounging and “perching.”