Something Old…Something New

The ugly lights were up.

To be fair it wouldn’t be fair to really say what the Alley Cat Lounge is going to look like. I can say with great confidence that it will be anything but ugly.  I got a peek inside one of Savannah’s newest cocktail bars this week and suffice to say it is going be a jewel on Broughton Street. Only problem with that is, you don’t access this basement space from Broughton. No, the only entrance to the Alley Cat is, well, in the alley. Of course, we are a little more dignified around here thanks to General Ogelthorpe, so we call them lanes.

“We are going to have over a 100 different cocktails.” owner Scott Marshall tells me. “We’ll have about 40 beers to start. Nothing on tap.”

The colors scheme is a bit of burnt orange if you will. Rust perhaps blended with dark browns. A lot of the materials they used were reclaimed from the space when the started the build out. The walls were bare during my tour. A lot of the lighting was in place, but it still was going to get a ton more accent once all shelving and bottles roll in. The doors upstairs to the lane are a beautiful dark wood. A good bit of money went into building out Savannah’s newest basement bar, of that we can be certain. There will be a ‘tasting room’ off to one side with limited privacy. The only separation will be ornate wrought iron. It won’t be sound proof or completely private. Just a space off to the side for a small gathering maybe with some food. Yes, there will be food.

Chef Nick McNevin is on board to provide light bites. “We can’t have an open flame.” Marshall tells me. “But we can use induction and a number of different things to make some great food.” he adds. “We are giving Nick free reign to do whatever he wants.” Chef Nick is a major talent. He was last at Collins Quarter up the road a few blocks, but he’s looking forward to doing some interesting things at Alley Cat. He couldn’t tell me much of what they were going to do with food yet because, frankly, they aren’t exactly sure equipment they will be able to use and how much of it. The menu will be a work in progress. Not to say it will at all be experimental. Chef Nick knows food, having worked all over the world including Jean-Georges in New York City. Trust me when I tell you this will be good.

Sounds expensive, doesn’t it? Not at all. “We are going to have something for everyone here. We understand the Savannah market. ” “We’ll have $2 ponies and $3 tall boy PBRs.” “We want everyone to feel welcome.”

Atta boy. Look for Alley Cat Lounge, 207 West Broughton (only accessible via the lane) to open to the public just after Labor Day Weekend.

Meanwhile up the road on Habersham in the Victorian District:

Brian Huskey is bringing in supplies from his Home Depot run. You gonna have this open for business in two days? “I’ve got three.”  Yes, he’s counting.

Blowin’ Smoke Southern Cantina is about ready to re-open for business after about a 3 or so week remodel. Some might even call it a complete makeover. Owner Brian Huskey had been planning this overhaul for quite some time. What he might have just created was Savannah’s next best neighborhood bar.

“We wanted to make the bar bigger. It was just too small before.” Huskey tells me as workers buzz around us painting, sanding, hammering and cleaning. The biggest difference is just that, the bar. For a spot that had a tremendous amount of cocktails, they probably had 4 or 5 seats at the bar. That wasn’t inviting to anyone. Now the garage door surrounded dining room is almost completely taken up by a new bar. New taps, new lighting, new seating all the way around. Just outside the garage doors will be a railing. Once the weather comes around, it will be the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail while to look over at the desperately in need of its own makeover apartment complex across the street. Alas, that is the charm of Savannah’s Victorian District.

No changes to the menu. None at all. Blowin’ Smoke will still be Savannah’s BBQ Cantina and Taqueria, now there will be more welcoming seating and two HUGE television screens on a far wall. This will be a great place to watch a game.

Blowin’ Smoke Cantina will re-open for business on Friday, August 26th at 11am for lunch and dinner.

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Eat It and Like It launched in Savannah, Georgia with television personality Jesse Blanco as the host. His passion for food and travel has made Eat It and Like It a two-time EMMY nominated program about contemporary and traditional Southern food.