Before the Crystal Beer Parlor was famous for slinging some of the best fare in town, it was a small, family-owned and operated grocery.
It was also a Prohibition-era speakeasy run by a rumored bootlegger by the name of William “Blocko” Manning. The Crystal itself opened during the Great Depression, which seems like the worst possible timing for a new business venture. And yet, Savannah’s oldest restaurant has more than endured—it has flourished. Here, the past is kept alive with memorabilia lining the walls detailing the restaurant’s former lives and Savannah’s early years. In 1933, hamburgers cost 30 cents and draft beer was just 10 cents a glass. “Times sure have changed,” says Owner John Nichols. “But I’m proud to be a part of such a rich and colorful piece of Savannah’s past.”
Today, Crystal remains a beloved Savannah institution, known far and wide for its consistently delicious offerings. There’s the Giant Pretzel with Smoked Gouda Cheese Sauce, the Fried Duck Wings, Georgia BBQ Nachos and a rich and creamy Blue Crab Stew (served with a side of sherry) that always garners rave reviews. The thick and juicy handmade burger (ground chuck, lamb or bison) and Classic Club Sandwich with its fresh-roasted turkey breast and smoked bacon beckon the faithful to return time and again. A local favorite is their old-fashioned, handmade onion rings, with other highlights including the Baked Deviled Crab, the Fried Shrimp, Oysters and Flounder, Shrimp and Grits with Andouille Sausage and the Salmon BLT. The Crystal also offers a number of popular vegetarian, soy-free and gluten-free options.
But it’s common knowledge that you simply cannot leave without enjoying the Georgia Peach Cobbler, the Savannah Mudd Pie, an old-fashioned Root Beer Float or the Fried Pound Cake!
And if the food menu sounds extensive, the beverage selection may be even more so. Behind the original wooden bar is an enormous variety of craft and artisan beers from Pilsners to Imperial Stouts, with 26 rotating brews on tap and a long list of local and classic favorites. Crystal’s full bar also includes a vast selection of whiskies, spirits and wine with classic cocktails like the Rum Runnin’ Punch, the Coastal Grand Margarita and the Tybee Island Sunset.
The Crystal is located in the heart of Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District. Take-out and online ordering are available. Be sure to stop into the Crystal Trading Co., their gorgeous gift shop with unique items from around the world. Don’t miss it!
Crystal Beer Parlor
301 W. Jones St.