The first time I ever visited Savannah was a few days after Donald Trump was elected. There was a whole mood shift in the country and I felt it everywhere I went, including in Savannah. When Shep and I pulled into the city, I felt so uncomfortable. We actually waited in line with a few folks and ate at the communal tables at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room. I don't remember a thing about the meal, just that I couldn't wait to get back in the car and head home to Atlanta.
This most recent time, I was invited by the Thompson Hotel to come down and check out their new property and restaurants. We were treated to a one night stay as well as a dinner and brunch. We decided to extend our trip by another day (on our dime of course) and I'm so happy we did. I absolutely fell in love with the city. From the romantic wisps of moss hanging from the trees to the seemingly boundless amounts of oysters and incredible bar and dining scene, I know now that I've been sleeping on Savannah.
Shep and I had the most incredible time, so much so that we're thinking of potentially investing in property there in the future. I cannot wait to go back and check out all of the restaurants, bars and hotels I missed this go round. Until next time, here is how to spend 48 hours in Savannah.
Where To Stay
Thompson Hotel - To be fair, I was invited for one night free BUT this post isn't sponsored and I truly loved my stay. Shep and I were talking about how, for our generation (late 20s-early 40s), there aren't really hotels that speak to us. The Four Seasons and the Ritz Carlton are a little too expensive, ornate and stuffy. The W and Westin can be inconsistent in quality so there isn't really a hotel group that delivers what we're looking for. I think the Thompson is on to something. The decor gives off a "lived-in-luxury" vibe (think West Elm). They've also done an amazing job of attracting talented chefs to head their in-house restaurants so no more subpar room service. These are places you'd actually want to dine in even if you weren't staying there. I've gone to the Thompson in Buckhead to hang out for the day and dined at Dirty Rascal and fell in love.
The Thompson in Savannah is located in the Riverfront district which places it about a 15 minute walk from the center of town. The hotel boasts an outdoor pool with an adjoining bar (the cocktails at the pool weren't my favorite tbh), a gym with Peloton bikes, plush ass bedding, a sexy bathroom and a stellar bar on the ground floor as well as two restaurants that are worth you time. I regret nothing about staying here. In fact, it's the only place I'm willing to stay in Savannah from now on.
Where to Eat
The Grey - I knew I wanted to book a reservation here when I saw Chef Mashama Bailey on an episode Chef's Table. If you haven't watched it yet, you absolutely should. Her story is compelling, her food is innovative and the actual dining space? Insanity. The Grey is housed in an hold bus station in Savannah that was once segregated. Now diners from all walks of live sit elbow to elbow savoring Mashama's elegant interpretations of Lowcountry southern cuisine.
Shep and I ordered a round of oysters and let our server guide us through the menu which changes with the seasons. Make sure to grab a reservation well in advance of your trip because spots are hard to come by. You'll definitely run up a hefty bill here but if you have the budget for one fancy meal in Savannah, this is where you should go.
Husk - Shep and I sadly didn't have enough time in our schedule (or room in our bellies) for a full dinner here but we did take advantage of the oyster and drink specials during happy hour. Husk is an institution and when I asked around to see where we should dine during our trip, Husk kept getting mentioned. The restaurant is a 15 minute walk from the Thompson and during a beautiful day, it's a walk that you should totally take.
Happy hour runs from 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and if you are an oyster lover, it shouldn't be missed. I sipped on a hibiscus bee's knee's that I'm still dreaming about and trying to recreate at home (keep you eyes open for the recipe). I loved our time here and would love to go back and enjoy dinner.
Fleeting - If you chose to eat at a restaurant in a hotel, you're pretty much guaranteed expensive, shitty food--but not at Fleeting. Here Chef Rob confidently curates and serves thoughtfully crafted dishes that will keep you coming back again and again. Shep ordered this duck dish that was so good he wouldn't share it with me while I was treated to a massive pork chop cooked over an open flame. I only had one cocktail since I'd just enjoyed happy hour before hand but it was delicious! As was my wine pairing with my pork chop. The service was attentive, the space gorgeous...I will definitely return.
Bar Julian - Is another restaurant inside of the Thompson that I absolutely loved. After a long day in the sun hanging by the pool, we headed to the rooftop (where Bar Julian is located) to grab a bite to eat and another cocktail. I didn't enjoy any of the cocktails I had by the pool and didn't really have high expectations of Bar Julian but luckily, I was blown away.
The space itself is breathtaking with 360 views of all of Savannah. I ordered a carrot and jalapeño based cocktail that was just the right mix of sweet with a little heat. I think it was rum based. Also, let's get into the fact that Bar Julian has damn good pizza! Like omg good. Shep and I split one and ordered the Julian Chopped Salad, y'all order it when you go even if it's the only thing you get.
Where to Drink
AlleyCat Lounge - Was recommended to us by a few different people and I'm so happy we tried it out. We headed there after dinner at The Grey to grab a nightcap and luckily the bar wasn't crowded yet. We snagged two seats at the bar and worked our way through their extensive menu. When I say extensive, I mean it. There are so many cocktails that the menu is presented in a newspaper format. There are pages and pages of house made drinks, liquors, beers and wines. It's overwhelming but thankfully the knowledgeable, patient and kind staff is there to help you through it. Don't see anything you like on the menu? Cool, talk to the bartender and they'll hook you up with something you'll love.
Places I Can't Wait To Try Next Time
All of these spots came highly recommended but we couldn't fit it all in. On our return trip, I'm most excited to try Common Thread since that's the restaurant whose name kept coming up everywhere we went. Since I haven't tried out these places myself, I can't write a review so I don't know if any of these places live up to the hype or not, but I'm damn sure going to find out when I go back.
Leave a comment!