A Museum Where You Can Drink Aint That Swell
Alcohol was outlawed and drinking was kept on the hush-hush but that doesnt mean it didnt happen. At Congress Street Up, the museums twenties-era speakeasy, youll enjoy delicious craft cocktails served with a side of history. All cocktails, beers, and wines can trace their origins back to prohibition and you can learn to make them yourself by reserving a private cocktail class.
For Drinking Until The Early Am
Loud, proud and pulsing with 80s rock music, dive bar The Original Pinkie Masters has been watering Savannahians since the 50s and is little short of a local institution. It’s said that, in the 70s, then-Georgia-governor Jimmy Carter clambered onto Pinkie’s well-worn bar to announce his intent to run for president.
Pop some coins in the jukebox, order a beer and hole up here for the night. You’re sure to rub shoulders with some colourful characters.
Reasons To Visit Our Museum
- Not Your Average Dry Museum step back in time to a wild era of flappers, bootlegging, and gangsters.
- Learn the history behind the iconic V8 and how it led to the birth of NASCAR.
- Explore the stories of Al Capone, Scarface, and the other historical gangsters of Prohibition.
- View confiscated items from mobsters and 200+ Prohibition-Era artifacts.
- Discover why Savannah was referred to as the Bootleg Spigot of the South.
- Slip into our Speakeasy to enjoy authentic craft cocktails.
- Zagat rated Congress Street Up Speakeasy One Of The Hottest Bars In Savannah.
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Frequently Asked Questions About American Prohibition Museum
What are the Savannah Prohibition Museum hours?
The American Prohibition Museum, Savannah, Georgia, is open 364 days of the year. They are closed on Saint Patrick’s Day and reserves the right to close for private events. Operating hours vary by season. Last admittance is 45 minutes prior to closing time. Please see the operating calendar in the ticket section above for the operating hours for your selected dates.
Where is the American Prohibition Museum located?
The American Prohibition Museum is located at 209 W Saint Julian St., Savannah, GA, next to Ellis Square in the City Market and just blocks away from Robinson Parking Garage.
What is the best way to get to the museum?
The easiest access to the museum is through Old Town Trolley Tours, which operates daily. The museum is Stop 9 on their Savannah tour route, with trolleys coming through every fifteen to twenty minutes.
Where can I park?
Metered parking spaces are available in the City Market area and on Broughton Street. There are two parking garages nearby: Whitaker Street Parking Garage and Robinson Parking Garage .
Can I bring my camera?
Yes, there will be plenty of photo opportunities. Video recording is not permitted.
What’s included in my American Prohibition Museum ticket?Can I bring food and drink into the museum?
No food and drink is allowed in the museum, until past the point of the Speakeasy. Only drinks purchased in the Speakeasy will be allowed in the subsequent galleries.
Is the museum pet friendly?
Congress Street Up Speakeasy
For additional information, please call 912-551-4054 or visit the bars official website.
Address The speakeasy can be accessed as part of the museum experience, but if you are visiting in the evening, the entrance is at 220 Congress Street, at the corner of Congress and Jefferson Streets.
Evening hours Wednesday-Saturday, 6:30pm-12am.
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Savannahs American Prohibition Museum Is An Intoxicating Adventure
With over 20 exciting exhibits, Savannahs American Prohibition Museum isnt like other dry museum experiences: this intoxicating museum is the only one in the country dedicated to the era of American history when the manufacture and sale of alcohol was prohibited!
When guests have traversed the entire walk-through museum, they are met with an intimidating door where they are asked for a password. What could be beyond? An authentic speakeasy, of course! During museum hours, Congress Street Up offers period-authentic cocktails made with the same ingredients that would have been used at the time, as well as a knowledgeable bartender to describe what it would have been like to visit a speakeasy during the time when alcohol was prohibited. After the museum closes, guests can return to Congress Street Up from a separate entrance on Congress Street to enjoy an expanded drink menu and entertainment late into the evening.
The American Prohibition Museum is located at 209 W St. Julian Street in the City Market district, just blocks away from the Robinson parking garage. For more information, to purchase tickets or inquire about events or group discounts, call the museum at 220-1249. Learn more about the exhibits and speakeasy at AmericanProhibitionMuseum.com.
American Prohibition Museum Exhibits
The American Prohibition Museum is displayed across two floors in Savannahs City Market, in what was formerly a retail space and apartment. Seven cities were initially considered to locate the new museum, with Savannah said to have won out due to its history as the first site of prohibition.
A series of galleries outline the events leading up to Prohibition, experiences during the Prohibition period, and its history through to its repeal.
Exhibits explore the activities of the Temperance League and others in favor of the ban on alcohol, and the passing of the 18th Amendment. Other displays concern the people who resisted the regulation of drink by illicitly manufacturing, transporting and selling alcohol during the Prohibition years .
Other galleries examine additional aspects of Prohibition through the 20s until the birth of NASCAR and the end of Prohibition in 1933, with exhibits on flappers and other characters from the age, and a recreated saloon.
On display are hundreds of historic artifacts, many of them locally sourced. Artifacts include a variety of early-20th-century bottles, examples of the alchohol-free goods sold by reinvented alcohol manufacturers in the 1920s, posters, newspapers and photographs, weapons, clothing, and several vintage vehicles, including a Model T Ford .
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What To Drink In Savannah
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In John Berendt’s Midnight In the Garden of Good and Evil, Mary Harty is quoted, “We have a saying: If you go to Atlanta, the first question people ask you is, ‘What’s your business?’ In Macon they ask, ‘Where do you go to church?’ In Augusta they ask your grandmother’s maiden name. But in Savannah the first question people ask you is, ‘What would you like to drink?'”
A Glass Of Madeira Wine
Madeira wine is a fortified wine . The wine gets its name from the island of Madiera, a Portuguese island located off of the coast of Morocco.
Even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson have been known to enjoy Madeira. Cheers to Savannah and this nation’s forefathers with a glass of this sweet dessert wine.
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Mead At Savannah Bee Company
Mead might be one of the oldest drinks known to mankind. While most people associate mead with the Middle Ages, the historical evidence points to “honey wine” being drunk in China 7,000 years ago. Although referred to as wine, mead is neither wine nor beer.
But what does this ancient “nectar of the gods” have to do with Savannah? That’s where the Savannah Bee Company comes in to picture. Officially established in 2002, Savannah Bee Company has been selling “Queen of the Honey World” Tupelo honey.
In addition to honey, the Savannah flagship store on Broughton Street has a mead bar and offers mead tastings with six varieties waiting to be sampled.
Beer From A Haunted Brewery
Occupying the old City Hotel which was built in 1821, Moon River Brewing Company has been serving food and making hand-crafted beer since 1999.
While the building was a hotel, its guest list included the likes of War of 1812 hero Winfield Scott, the Marquis de Lafayette, the first three Commodores of the United States Navy, and naturalist James Audubon.
Not all of the clientele at the hotel were genteel like those men. Fits of violence erupted easily back in the day, especially when alcohol was involved. Yankees were particularly susceptible to being targets while Southerners defended their honor.
Nowadays, it purported that paranormal activity takes places at the brewery by the likes of bottles being thrown by unseen forces and spectres being sighted lingering in the billiard room.
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Results: A Roaring Good Time
Through the execution of some spirited creative pieces all the while working alongside our client, we ultimately helped tell the story of American Prohibition and its impact on the nation. Today, the Savannah museum is filled with daily visitors, receives great reviews, and I guess you could say, its the talk of the town. Within months of opening, its been listed as one of the top museums in Georgia, and perhaps the only one, ever, with a Zagat-rated cocktail bar.
The Museum Invites To Explore A Massive Collection Of Stills And To Get A Brief Lesson On Alcohol
Next, a gallery of tommy guns and mobster memorabilia used by the likes of Al Capone and Scarface showcases the organized crime culture of the age and brings guests face-to-face with Americas original gangsters. Their getaway cars, including a Model T-Ford and Peerless, are on display, as well as the glamorous frocks, feathers and fringed looks made famous by the quintessential flapper Clara Bow.
We are blessed to receive positive reviews every day, Black shares. Many people say that the American Prohibition Museum is one of the best experiences theyve had visiting Savannah.
The Congress Street Up Speakeasy is a fully functioning bar. It boasts a tin ceiling, jazz music and bartenders in period garb. It serves 15 prohibition-era cocktails, with the eighteenth-century Chatham Artillery Punch being the most popular offering. Other favorites include the Brown Derby, crafted from bourbon and grapefruit juice. The French 75, featuring a mixture of gin, lemon juice and champagne is also popular.
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Whats The Best Way To Turn An Enemy Into A Friend Share A Cocktail Of Course
When General William T. Sherman traveled south in the famous March to the Sea, he left a 30 miles wide and 300 miles long wake of destruction behind him. When his Union Army reached Savannah in 1864, the townsfolk did what they did bestthey threw a party and invited every Yankee in sight! That is how, so sayeth the legend, the Chatham Artillery Punch went down in history as the cocktail that spared a city from the Civil War.
Named for the oldest military organization in Georgia, the Chatham Artillery Punch is as synonymous with Savannah as Martinis are with New York. Around since at least 1800, the Punch was originally made en mass in horse buckets and is one of the very few quintessentially American cocktails to survive Prohibition intact .
So it should not come as a surprise that the American Prohibition Museum in Savannah is one of the best places in town to try one the museum is dedicated not so much to Prohibitions virtues as to its failures. Indeed, it has a recreated speakeasy at the end of the exhibits with a menu chock-full of historical concoctions. The Chatham Artillery Punch is right at the top.
Museums Head Bartender Jason Rabe
Our version is the oldest version we could find, around 1870, says the museums head bartender Jason Rabe, and he warns that the Punch is so old and so popular as to have several versions, some entirely different from the original and far weaker. They have very little booze, with mostly wine or sweeteners.
Chatham Artillery Punch
Challenges: Raising The Bar For History Museums
Perhaps the biggest challenge of working on this project was the fact that the finished product had yet to be built. As a brand new attraction, our clients took on the challenging task of transforming an empty retail space into a interactive museum and we were to help them tell their story along the way.
But how do you market something before its open? How do you sell an idea before you know what the finished product looks like? It was definitely a challenge, but not one we werent up for. We were committed to establishing this museum as a fun way to drink up some history while visiting Savannah.
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Phyllis Long Haul Coleslaw
At Chef Darins Kitchen Table in Savannah, chef Darin Sehnert teaches his moms method for making coleslaw during his cooking classes. He calls it long haul because it can, in theory, last up to a month in the fridge. You can shred your own cabbage , but Sehnert loves reasonable shortcuts, like buying coleslaw mix.
The Story Of Savannah
But revelry rumbles across these oak-cloaked streets and has done for almost 300 years. Savannah was built by English colonisers who, led by General James Oglethorpe, settled on the land that would become Georgia in 1733. Such was their merrymaking they made rum from molasses and spent days on end in a pie-eyed stupor that Oglethorpe banned all strong waters from the colony. This was the first act of alcohol prohibition in America.
Artillery Bar in Savannah
Fitting then, that Savannah, the Hostess City, is home to the USAs first prohibition museum . Opened in 2017, it chronicles the temperance movement from its early beginnings in America, to the national Prohibition era from 1920 to 1933. It shines a light, too, on the moonshine makers and rum runners who did everything in their power to buck the dry law.
But the sultry streets of Savannah could be a museum of Prohibition-era history themselves. About half a mile from East Jones Street is The Distillery Ale House. Today its a sleek craft-beer spot but, so the story goes, in the 1920s it was a pharmacy-cum-speakeasy and bathtub gin was made on the second floor.
Savannah legend spills into the Crystal Beer Palor too. It was once the Gerken Family Grocery Store, later changing to The Crystal restaurant. It was also the first spot to serve alcohol after Prohibition ended most likely because it never stopped.
Savannah in Georgia
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Opened In May 2017 The Museum Was Curated And Created By Historic Tours Of America The Countrys Largest Privately Owned Heritage Tourism Company
They hand-selected the Hostess City to be the home of this one-of-a-kind experience. The nearly 6,000-square-foot museum features 13 galleries, four vintage cars, a theater and the full-service, period-inspired Congress Street Up Speakeasy.
Savannah has wonderful museums and stunning house museums, but the American Prohibition Museum is unlike any other museum experience in the area, says American Prohibition Museum Director Kayla Black. Its completely interactive and immersive, using technology to tell the story about prohibition in America.
Self-guided tours start with an exhibit on the temperance movement, complete with a life-size figure of the hatchet-wielding radical Carry Nation, who was arrested over 30 times for vandalizing saloons. Costumed docents are also on hand to answer questions.
Today Savannah Is Known For Its Lively Bar Scene Free
However, in 1908, Georgia became a dry state, fueling the bootlegging and rumrunning industry. In 1919, the 18th Amendment prohibiting the sale or consumption of alcohol passed nationally. This could have spelled the end of cocktail parties and spirits for Georgias First City.
Luckily, appearances can be deceiving. The alcohol-induced fun simply moved underground into secret speakeasies. Fringed flappers gyrated to live jazz, and gangsters sipped on moonshine behind password-protected doors.
The American Prohibition Museum in Savannah is the only prohibition museum in the nation. It invites guests to join in the fun of this bygone era, meet the rumrunners and hear first-hand accounts of life in the Roaring 20s from the most infamous mobsters of the age.
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Bootleggers And Bourbon: Then And Now In Savannahs Drinking History
For a small Southern city, often known by its tongue-in-cheek nickname Slowvannah, Savannah has turned itself into a culinary destination. Charleston landmarks Husk and Prohibition have recently opened the doors to new Savannah locations, and Mashama Baileys work at The Grey has had critics across the country praising her take on Port City Southern food. While this host of new restaurants has heralded in new, innovative bar programs, like Kevin Kings local-forward menu at Husk and The Atlantics dizzying selection of world wines, the city is not new to the cocktail scene in the slightest.
While prohibition era has long since ended and thankfully so the fallout of the era is still ever present in Savannahs current cocktail culture. Due to the states saturation of strict Baptists, Georgia was the first state the country to turn teetotalling into hard law. The first attempt by The Georgia State Temperance Society to ban distilled liquor in the State was in 1836, and while that attempt was unsuccessful, the first Statewide prohibition went into effect in 1908, years before the rest of the country followed suit. While Georgia was at the forefront of the anti-booze efforts, Savannah was having none of it. The sleepy little city was so against giving up their libations that Savannah attempted to secede from Georgia and form its own state, where alcohol would be plentiful.
An early recipe for the Chatham Artillery Punch
Prohibition-era tipples at Husk Savannah
All General Admission Tickets Cover Entry Into The American Prohibition Museum And The Congress Street Up Speakeasy
Select ticket packages include a drink ticket for those 21 and over with ID. There are no age restrictions to the museum. The American Prohibition Museum is a great way for the whole family to learn about a fascinating chapter in American history.
The American Prohibition Museum, located at 209 W. St. Julian Street in City Market, is open daily from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., with last entry at 4:15 p.m. For more information or to schedule a group tour, visit americanprohibitionmuseum.com or call 551-4054.
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