Last week I visited Savannah, Georgia for a series of meetings I had for work at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). I flew in late afternoon on Tuesday arriving just before suppertime leaving an entire evening for exploring before work the next morning. I’d heard good things about the city, especially from my Dad who worked in the area a few years back running a big job for his company.
“Go to Kevin Barry’s,” he told me. “Go to Kevin Barry’s, order a drink and ask if you can go check out their upstairs bar.” Because it was a Tuesday night, a slow bar night in Savannah, the second floor was closed. I made a mental note to stop there on my self-guided tour after dinner – he didn’t recommend it for food.
After checking into one of the most unique hotels I’ve ever stepped foot inside, the Mansion on Forsyth (highly recommend), I took the complementary shuttle service to River Street where all the action was. The Mansion has a sister hotel, the Bohemian, that’s located right on the river. The shuttle jets between the two. What the Bohemian has that the Mansion does not is a roof top bar with a view.
Rocks on the River has a fun atmosphere perfect for cocktails, tapas (appetizers only), and watching the sunset over the bridge. I cozied up to the bar for my usual cocktail, a seafood flatbread pizza, and to take in the scene. The cocktail was generous while the food was just okay. But the space is more about the view than anything else showing off a nearly 360 degree view of the city.
After a bite to eat and texting back and forth with my parents (who were out to dinner themselves), I sent a photo to the both of them showing the front door of Kevin Barry’s where I found the ‘green feet’ my Dad had told me would be there.
‘Jolly Green’ feet to be more specific are the symbol of the squadron my brother Jason served under during his time in the Air Force. While he was home on leave (during one of this three tours - one to Iraq and two more to Afghanistan) he visited my Dad who, again, was there for work at the time.
Shortly after sending the photo my Mom called me. “We wish we were there with you,” she told me. My Mom was also familiar with the area after having visited a few times during the time my Dad worked there.
“That old bar is a special place for your Dad and your brother.” Now, my brother never talks much about his time in the military, but the little he has said was shared with my Dad.
During his service I was in high school and later college so, to say the least, I was selfishly distracted. But despite my out of ‘sight out of mind’ mentality at the time, I specifically remember my parents concern over my brother while in combat. Things weren’t good over there and I know that wore on them both.
She went on, “I know it might seem silly, but spend some time there. It’ll mean a lot to your Dad.” I ordered a drink and asked the bartender (who’s name was Chris oddly enough – my Dad’s name) if I could peak upstairs.
The place was covered with military memorabilia. Looking around I could see why this was a special place. I pictured my Dad and brother having a beer together and talking about (according to my Mom) heavy stuff. And even though the bar was empty, the thought of them there made it feel full.
I had, had enough deep thinking for one night and decided it was time for a sweet Savannah treat and a leisurely stroll back to the hotel attempting to soak up as much southern warmth as I could before returning to our cooler fall, Michigan temps. A praline from River Street Sweets Candy Store and a stop at the fountain in Forsyth Park topped off the night.
The next morning it was all business with meetings at SCAD followed by a lunch with co-workers at The Collins Quarter, a sweet little breakfast/lunch place that specializes in coffee drinks and cocktails.
Savannah was a real treat. It’s a city full of charm, rich in history, and proud to offer it’s many unique experiences.