Savannah, Georgia, is well known for its historic attractions and refined yet laid-back Southern flair, turning the heads of both business and leisure travelers alike.
“There’s an old expression that if Charleston is the debutant, Savannah is her crazy cousin,” said Jeff Hewitt, VP of business development for Visit Savannah. “We like that. Savannah is more relaxed; we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
What Savannah does take seriously?
Food and drinks. Thanks to the nearby ocean brimming with flounder, Georgia shrimp and blue crab plus the added advantage of an open-container law, it’s easy to wander around Savannah after meetings and find exceptional places to indulge in the local fare.
Here are some of the best group dining spots Hewitt recommends for post-meeting camaraderie—all of which have private dining spaces within unique venues.
The Olde Pink House
This 1771 stately mansion in the city’s historic Reynolds Square, a National Historic Landmark district, is considered an essential restaurant stop in Savannah.
The Olde Pink House was originally constructed on land granted by the crown of England. Today it can host private events for meals of Lowcountry cuisine and classic Savannah seafood.
Planners can work with the restaurant to create custom menus for lunch and dinner. Spaces that can be reserved include:
- James Habersham Grand Ballroom, which can host up to 150
- The Study, which can host up to 24 guests and has an attached private balcony
- The Conference Room, a historic 14-person-capacity room added in 1811 when the mansion became the first bank in the state of Georgia
- The Clubs, a pair of rooms connected by pocket doors that can host 24 guests each
- The Office, which can host 24 guests and offers a view of Reynolds Square
- The Purple Room, which can host 40 diners
[Related: 11 Historical Venues in Georgia That Will Charm Attendees]
Serious foodies are likely to know about The Grey, known for Executive Chef Mashama Bailey’s James Beard Award-winning food, housed in a restored 1938 Art Deco Greyhound Bus Terminal in the city’s Historic District.
Prior to her 2018 and 2019 nominations—and honor as Best Chef in the Southeast in 2019—Savannah had not received a James Beard nomination in almost 25 years.
(Photo: The Grey dining area; Credit: The Grey)
The prestige put Savannah on the serious restaurant-goers’ radar. For meeting attendees that want to taste the hype, the restaurant has two rooms that can be reserved for private dining:
- The Shower Room, which can accommodate up to 20
- The Boiler Room, which can accommodate up to 10
The menu pulls inspiration from seasonal ingredients, blending classic Southern flavors with African and European influences. Dinner can be served in three, five or seven courses.
Georgia Queen Riverboat
For fresh-air, large-scale events, Hewitt named the Georgia Queen Riverboat as a popular offsite option. Groups can book the vessel for private use and cruise along the Savannah River during brunch, lunch, dinner or at sunset. A variety of cruise options are available on Savannah Riverboat Cruises’ website.
Photo: Savannah Riverboat Georgia Queen; Credit: Casey Jones
[Related: 9 Offsite Venues in Savannah that Show Off Unique Southern Charm]
Live entertainment often accompanies a cruise on the riverboat, and up to 1,000 people can be on board at once, excluding crew members.
There’s more than one mansion available for private dining in Savannah.
The 700 Drayton is the restaurant at The Mansion on Forsyth Park, a Marriott Autograph Collection hotel.
The menu merges Southern cuisine with globally inspired flavors, often using locally sourced ingredients.
(Photo: 700 Drayton interior; Credit: Carley Rudd Photography)
Outside of traditional meals, groups can also participate in the 700 Kitchen Cooking School, where the restaurant’s chefs guide participants through creating dishes like Lowcountry staples such as shrimp and grits, stewed chicken and succotash; classic Italian plates and more in the state-of-the-art kitchen.
Photo: 700 Drayton food; Credit: Credit Carley Rudd Photography
Vic’s on the River
For those with a craving for traditional Southern fare paired with a view, Vic’s on the River is a city staple. The eatery overlooks the Savannah River and keeps guests entertained with nightly music. Diners will find dishes like pecan fried flounder, shrimp and grits, jumbo lump crab cakes, po boys and other classics.
The restaurant has three spaces that can be reserved for private dining and events:
- Stoddard Room, for large events over 100
- Victor Hall, for up to 48 people
- Dieter’s Den, for up to 32 people
Read Next: Savannah and the Georgia Coast Offer Bounty of Treasures