If the walls of Savannah’s Artillery Bar could talk, they’d have volumes of history to relay. Once home to Savannah’s volunteer militia group the Georgia Hussars, the 19th-century building that anchors 307 Bull St. had many other lives before a cocktail bar filled the space in 2016: artillery storehouse, retail space, automotive showroom and year-round holiday goods store. Today, the gilded Artillery Bar seems perfectly at home in the space. “I didn’t want people to think it was an historic speakeasy that had been there for 200 years, but I didn’t want to create a super-modern space inside a historic shell either,” says Daniel Reed Hospitality creative director Robby Perkins.
Honoring the history of any building while updating the interior to feel current can be challenging, but that’s the balance Perkins and team managed to strike with Artillery. “The building was an automotive showroom at one point, so I used that to inspire the design for the chartreuse, velvet banquettes (to resemble the upholstery in vintage cars). The paneling and horse reins in the back hallway leading to the restrooms nod to the horse stalls that used to occupy the back of the building, when the cavalry kept their horses there that pulled the artillery,” he adds, citing a custom panel by local artist Mary Hartman—an abstract of a horse pulling a cart—as one of his favorite elements in the room.
From the building’s ornate facade to the modern light fixtures and bright marble countertops inside, every design element speaks to the Artillery Bar’s unique character. “Because it was a small space, it allowed us to do some impressive finishes and installations that might not make sense in a larger buildout. There’s something special about it. Everyone feels that just walking by the place,” Perkins says.
Behind the bar, Ian Kesson and Cal Momyer helm the drinks program (and also serve as general manager and manager, respectively). “We gave them free reign with the menu with one direction: to curate a list of offerings as unique as the bar,” says Perkins. Highlights include a thoughtful list of wines on tap and creative cocktails made with lesser-known liquors. Drinks like the Bloodline, a fruit-forward take on the Pimm’s Cup with London Dry gin, Pimm’s No. 1, fresh blood orange juice, watermelon, lime and thyme syrup, share menu space with recipes like the Fire & Ice, a sultry mix of mezcal, tequila, lime, creole shrub and shishito pepper. “I think of Artillery as the feather in our cap,” Perkins says. “Artillery is quality, it’s great customer service in a beautiful and unique space with a story to tell, offering topnotch drinks.”
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