Pulled into Savannah yesterday for the first stop on my summer 2012 vintage buying trip. Since it was July 4th , my friend Nina and I both agreed we didn’t love fireworks enough to spend the evening down by the river with the huge crowds, in steamy Georgia heat just to see the fireworks display. Sooooo, we went in search of a nice, cool place, hopefully with some historical ambience, to have a bite to eat.
Which should normally be simple since pretty much every building in Savannah is of some historical significance. But it was a holiday and lots of places were closed. Lucky for us we walked by this magnificient pink building called, appropriately, “The Olde Pink House Restaurant and Tavern”. It looked open, so we decided to take a peek inside. They were busy, but told us we were welcome to eat in their tavern, which is down in the cellar. A cool, dark place with candlelight, scrumptious southern style cuisine, tons of atmosphere and a lady named Diana Rogers wearing a fabulous wide brimmed hat playing the piano and singing jazz standards. The bartender told us she has a collection of over 300 vintage hats and wears a different one every day! Needless to say, we were in heaven!
Completed in 1789 by James Haberham Jr, one of Savannah’s prominent cotton merhants, the Georgian Mansion is one of the city’s finest examples of colonial architecture and one of the few buildings to survive the great fire of 1796. It is comprised of red brick, which was covered with white plaster. The color in the red brick bled through to the plaster creating the unusual pink color. And no matter how many times it was replastered it still happened. So pink it has remained!
This is the entryway into the tavern. It was so dark once inside that that my camera flash couldn’t capture all the cool archectural details. Some say James Habersham hanged himself in the basement and patrons and employees often see his ghost and the ghosts of many other previous occupants wandering throughout the building.
After the Habersham family lived there, the building became the Planters Bank. This photo is a little wine cellar off the tavern that was originally a bank vault.
By the time we left, the restaurant had pretty much cleared out. The friendly staff encouraged us to take a tour around. Here are some photos of the rest of the building. There are many separate dining rooms, all with their own unique features and an amazing function room for events.
We also discovered that not only was James Habersham Jr a wealthy merchant and prominent member of Savannah society, he as also a revolutionary patriot. So this certainly ended up being an apt place for us to land on Independence Day!