Savannah typically has two climates: sunny/humid OR rainy/humid. Autumn’s arrival this week provides the city with a welcome hiatus from its signature heat, making for refreshingly pleasant outdoor dining experiences. Because Savannah is at her coolest (quite literally) in the fall, some of the most unique restaurants and bars take full advantage of the weather with comfortable and scenic outdoor seating options.
Savannah already embraces her visitors as much as she does her residents, who usually greet tourists with an offer of food and drink. For that same warm, home-style welcome, Tubby’s Seafood above Huey’s serves up the works up on their second-story deck, where customers can watch the ferries and cargo ships cruise by River Street.
Tucked between the Old Cotton Exchange building and City Hall, Vic’s on the River makes the most use of their outdoor and deck space with plenty of seating and live music every evening. This raised restaurant was originally used as a warehouse upon its completion in 1859. It was in the building’s empty offices that General Sherman’s lesser officers stayed and strategized during the Civil War (still referred in the South as the War Between The States or the War of Northern Aggression).
Savannah’s only brewpub, Moon River Brewing Co. boasts the largest beer garden in Downtown Savannah. With an outdoor bar and plenty of seating, the haunted restaurant stays busy serving their popular beers brewed in house, such as Yoga Pants (a Southern-style Pale Ale) and Slow-vannah (a Session IPA).
Right down the street, Treylor Park has its own intimate playground of eatery and nightlife in the heart of downtown. Chill out what is indisputably the classiest “trailer” park in the South either at their swanky bar with a seasonal cocktail (their signature, “Treylor Park,” mixes Aperol with Prosecco and Club Soda), or in the brush and brew of their backyard beer garden (try the Southbound Scattered Sun Belgium Wit). Highlights of the menu include the PB&J Chicken Wings for an appetizer and the Southern Sloppy Joe as the main course.
Round the corner near Franklin Square to find Belford’s to enjoy their renowned seafood and steak in the middle of City Market. Originally owned by the Savannah Hebrew Congregation in 1902, the restaurant was passed to the Belford family and debuted its current name in 1996. A black awning shades the outdoor seating area, optimal for whatever the thermometer reads. The two-story brick building also features indoor seating options for those who want their wine with a hint of air conditioning. Chef Larry Balcarcel serves only the best local fare from oysters to shrimp.
For the low maintenance stomach, Wild Wing Café dishes out classic American cuisine directly across the fountains of Ellis Square. Do not be fooled by the “sports bar” facade; This fabulous barbeque wings, burgers, and beer joint integrates itself effortlessly into the character of City Market without looking too tacky or branding. Even on any given weekday, Wild Wing’s offers food and fun with a 4-7 p.m. happy hour, Team Trivia, and lots of live music featuring local and visiting artists.
Though not technically within City Market, B&D Burgers is a close neighbor to its foot traffic (just look for the lounging gator). Head out back to the main patio and experience this restaurant’s equivalent to a backyard cookout near one of their sports-viewing TVs or in the middle of all the action. B&D also puts the power of the patty in their customers’ hands with a build-your-own burger option among their traditional selection of premium style burgers and beer.
A similar sense of community and intimate eats and entertainment awaits past the brick posts and iron gates of Congress St. Social Club on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. The menu is a hybrid of Tex-Mex, barbeque and grilled grub, so even the pickiest eater in your party will find something to their liking. The name says it all, as customers are invited to not only eat but mingle in this vibrant, spacious courtyard.
A unanimously favorite stop on the south end of Forsyth Park among both locals and tourists, Local 11 Ten oversees the park and its pedestrians from their air conditioned dining room or, better yet, their naturally airy rooftop bar, Perch. Wooden floors contrast against white cushions where you can lounge and nurse a bottle of golden monkey and munch on warm Castelvetrano olives while the trees hang low enough to almost touch the rim of your glass.
Liberty Street’s gem for modern twists to old food favorites thrives on the corner of Bull and Liberty streets at The Public. Integration with the organic plays into the interior decor’s theme through artificial blades of grass lining and leaves appearing sporadically around the bare lightbulb lamps. The aesthetic is pleasant, but if you want the no-faux, authentic outdoors, just request the rooftop terrace where you can savor Sunday Brunch or a regular Wednesday lunch.
As Savannah continually proves to her visitors, delicious and distinctive dining destinations are ubiquitous. One of the newest additions to the city’s eccentric Starland District dining landscape is found in The Vault. Despite the name, this once local bank now lets in the sun thanks to a recent renovation. This unique kitchen and outdoor market serves a generous variety of dishes from sushi and seafood to tacos and even dumplings.
One block from Bull and Habersham streets, Blowin’ Smoke Southern Cantina is a must-do for meat lovers who want a tried-and-true Southern barbeque. This is one joint you may judge by its appearance; Blowin’ Smoke echoes its authentic Southwestern flavor through their newly-renovated patio setting and the perfume of their signature pecan-smoked barbeque circulating from their house smoker.
If you want to bask in a creative mind’s cozy, caffeinated mecca, seek out the influx of SCAD students along Bull Street across from the Savannah Public Library. That is where Foxy Loxy feeds the curious creative’s cravings not just for coffee but baked goods and Tex-Mex fare. Their courtyard just past the kitchen doors is the place for live local and regional music every Tuesday night and artist receptions on the first Friday of the month.