Eating out for me has taken a different turn lately. I’ve discovered that after countless of fine dining experiences and other restaurants that, aside from being great and unique can be found in any city in any part of the world. In other words, they aren’t specific or impactful to the place I am visiting.
And, I’ll be even more honest with you, I’m not exactly a huge foodie so eating masterpieces by well renown chefs are definitely a fun thing to do, but it isn’t what I look for when I travel – especially to historic cities, in this case Savannah.
Just like when I visited Boston and had the rare opportunity to eat in the oldest restaurant in the United States, I searched for Savannah’s restaurants in the same way.
And this is how I found The Pirates House – a World Famous Restaurant (it’s world famous because it actually is a member of the International World Famous Restaurants organization – how exciting is this).
The Pirates House is so much more than just a restaurant, the history of this place can write volumes upon volumes.
Tour of The Pirates House Savannah
There are basically three things you can do at The Pirates House, one of them is not a known fact and many people miss this awesome freebie that is offered to all guests.
1. Food – the restaurant claims to have one of the best Savannah and Southern style buffets in the city. And after having a taste, I can honestly say that is the truth. It was so delicious.
But they are also known for their Chatham Artillery Punch. The bartender, who has been working with The Pirates House for eons, is super proud of her mix which is most true to the Chatham Artillery’s original recipe from the Civil War. (Watch video below to get more fun info on it).
2. Museum (like) – The Pirates House is home to the oldest home in Georgia which is part of the restaurant. With Savannah having such strict laws about their historic buildings, the house is still fully intact like it first was built.
When the owners of the Pirates House bought the land and the buildings they had an incredible surprise. During the days of the Pirates, since Savannah was 160 feet above sea level and there was no easy way to get to the land other than to climb the cliffs, importers and pirates built tunnels under the city to bring up the goods easier. These tunnels have long been abandoned until The Pirates House started to do some renovating in other parts around the ‘Oldest House’ area. That’s when they discovered them. You can now see them on display.
Plus, below the restaurant is the Tavern which has many legends of Piracy to the most horrible degrees – almost slavery – where they would get patrons so drunk that they would wake up hog-tied on a boat going to China. The most famous legend of all was of a Savannah policeman who stopped by The Pirates’ House for a friendly drink and awoke on a four-masted schooner sailing to China from where it took him two years to make his way back to Savannah.
3. Bonus – Freebie – While eating you will notice there are actual Pirates strolling around the restaurant. Well these pirates, when asked, give free tours that are around 15 minutes long. (That’s how I actually learned all these cool facts that I’m telling you about). And this is all done for free. And the best part, it’s so engaging and interesting that it’s great for all ages.
History of The Pirates House
- Savannah’s Pirates House is located in the Trustees Garden, the first experimental garden in America.
- When General Oglethorpe and his little band of colonists arrived from England in 1733, they came ashore in the vicinity of the present City Hall approximately seven blocks west of The Pirates’ House.
- There they pitched their tents to found the City of Savannah.
- A suitable site of land was located on the eastern boundary of Oglethorpe’s city plan on which an experimental garden would be developed.
- The plot of land was dedicated as Trustees Garden in honor of Oglethorpe’s men whom he considered the Trustees of the new colony.
- The garden was modeled very closely after the Chelsea Botanical Garden in London.
- Botanists were sent from England to the four corners of the world to procure plants for the new project.
- From this garden were distributed the peach trees which have since given Georgia and South Carolina a major commercial crop and also the upland cotton which later comprised the greater part of the worlds commerce.
- The small building adjoining the Pirates’ House was erected in 1734 and is said to be the oldest house in the State of Georgia.
- The building originally housed the gardener of Trustees’ Garden.
- Around 1753, when Georgia had become firmly established and the need for an experimental garden no longer existed, the site was developed as a residential section.
- Since Savannah had become a thriving seaport town, one of the first buildings constructed on the former garden site was naturally an Inn for visiting seamen.
- The Inn became a rendezvous of blood-thirsty pirates and sailors from the Seven Seas.
- The property was acquired by the Savannah Gas Company in 1948 and the buildings soon fell under the magic of Mrs. Hansell Hillyer, wife of the president of the company, who with great imagination, and skill transformed the fascinating museum into its present use as a restaurant.
- There are stories of a tunnel extending from the Old Rum Cellar beneath the Captain’s Room to the river through which these men were carried, drugged, and unconscious, to ships waiting in the harbor.
- Hanging on the walls in the Captain’s Room and The Treasure Room are frames containing pages from an early, very rare edition of the book Treasure Island.
- Savannah is mentioned numerous times in this classic by Robert Louis Stevenson.
- In fact, some of the action is supposed to have taken place in The Pirates’ House!
- The validity of The Pirates’ House has been recognized by The American Museum Society which lists this historic tavern as a house museum.
Information for Visiting The Pirates House Savannah
Address: 20 East Broad Street | Savannah, GA 31401
Phone: (912) 233-5757
Lunch Menu 11:00am-4:00pm
Southern Style Buffet 11:00am-3:00pm
Dinner Menu 4:00pm-9:30pm Fri-Sat 4:00pm-10:00pm