Do you love museums and drinking but have only ever done them separately? Head on over to The Prohibition Museum in Savannah, GA, and get the best of both worlds.
A museum where you can drink? You heard me right! Keep scrolling to find out more.
This stay was generously sponsored by the Savannah Tourism Board – as always, all opinions and thoughts are my own though. 🙂
The county that included the city of Savannah, Chatham County, was so enraged by the prohibition that they threatened to secede from Georgia and become their own state. During your visit, you may hear Savannah being referred to as “the state of Chatham”. This goes back to when they threatened to secede.
Savannah, GA – otherwise once known as the Bootleg Spigot of the South – opened The American Prohibition Museum in 2017. It is the only museum in all of the United States that is fully dedicated to the history of Prohibition. It is definitely worth the trip, keep reading to find out why.
Come and step back in time with the volunteers dressed in 1920s attire. And get ready to experience the craziness that was the Prohibition era.
1. Learn The Stories Of Historical Gangsters Of Prohibition
As you wander through The Prohibition Museum, you’ll learn about major gangsters of this time and how they capitalized off of the ridiculous laws against alcohol. Curious how much people were willing to pay to get alcohol illegally during this time?
Most industrial workers brought home an annual salary of $1,000, but Prohibition gangster Al Capone brought in $100 million a year just through his illegal operations. His operation included bootlegging, prostitution, and gambling, no wonder he was wanted by so many government officials.
Best part? Al Capone didn’t think he was doing anything wrong — he was calling himself a people person as he only was giving the people what they wanted: Booze.
He was also the initiator of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929 where he was responsible for the assassination of seven gangster-related rivals.
Want to see real criminal evidence from Al Capone and other gangsters from that time? The Prohibition Museum has a Crime & Gangsters exhibit that houses confiscated items from the big, bad mobsters.
2. History Of The V8 And NASCAR Birth
Want to know something interesting? Savannah, GA is actually the birthplace of Grand Prix racing in America. 1,500 US soldiers were used as human barricades separating the spectators from the race which included Henry Ford and Louis Chevrolet.
Want front-row seats to learn more? The Prohibition Museum goes into more detail about everything NASCAR relating to Savannah, GA.
3. Visit The Historic Speakeasy
Rated as one of the hottest bars in Savannah, Congress Street Up is a 20’s era speakeasy that is located inside The Prohibition Museum — I told you this museum was the best of both worlds!
The best part? You won’t even realize when you’ve shifted from the museum to the speakeasy. Unbeknownst to you, the end is marked by a massive, hefty door with a small window in the middle and a ring positioned just below it.
What are you waiting for? Ring it. Just don’t be surprised if no one opens it, as it’s not actually real – took me a moment to realize, ha. Great photo prop though!
The interior is so authentic with a tin punch ceiling, parquet floors, and wooden and brick back bars. You’ll forget what era you’re actually in! Dance to roaring 20’s music while you’re served classic Prohibition-style cocktails from costumed bartenders and you may never want to leave!
Note: Getting a drink voucher at the door will save you money compared to paying full price inside the speakeasy – make sure to do that!
Looking to add a master bartender to your ever-growing list of talents? Head on over to the speakeasy and take their mixology class where you can learn how to make classic cocktails while also learning the history behind them.
If you don’t feel like drinking during the day, you can always return in the evening to experience the historic speakeasy, which can be accessed both from the museum and a separate door (separate entrance for the after-hours time).
Tip: Savannah is unique in that there are no nightclubs there; instead, people congregate in bars and pubs to socialize and dance. Savannah is the place to go whether you want to relax or let loose – quite literally!
Want more fun things to do in Savannah, GA? Then here is my guide to exploring Old Town Savannah like a local.
Information About The Prohibition Museum
Location: At 209 West St. Julian Street, Savannah, GA 31401
Hours: 10am – 4:15pm
Phone: (912) 220-1249
Ages: all ages welcome
Reservations not required
If you’re not into day drinking, consider visiting the speakeasy in the evening from the other entrance:
Location: 220 Congress Street – Upstairs, Savannah, GA 31401
Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 6:30pm – 12am
Ages: must be 21+ to enter
Where To Stay In Savannah
Deciding where to stay when visiting The Prohibition Museum in Savannah, GA depends on what your preferences are. If you prefer the feel of being on vacation, check out these best-rated hotels on Tripadvisor. If you like to enjoy your vacations from the comfort of a home, check out Airbnb for some great home-away-from-homes.
Hotels in Savannah
The Andaz Savannah has a relaxed, urban, artistic vibe while still upholding Southern sophistication. After visiting the Prohibition Museum, you’ll look forward to coming back to your hotel for the nightlife experience and the close proximity to the Ellis Square shopping center. Or if you’d rather come back after a long day and stay at the hotel, then don’t worry. The hotel roof has got you covered. There is a heated pool and terrace on the roof where you can enjoy the city views next to the fire pit.
Extra bonus? It is a pet-friendly hotel!
Florida next on your travel list? Here is my experience at the best pet friendly hotel in Key West.
The Marshall House
The Marshall House is one of the most unique hotels in Savannah. Its located on Broughton Street where you’ll be immersed in the true historic Savannah. Not renting a car for your trip? The Marshall House is centrally located with dining and shopping just outside the door – no car is needed to enjoy the beautiful city.
The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, Autograph Collection
The Bohemian Hotel Savannah Riverfront, Autograph Collection is more than just a mouthful, it’s actually a beautiful hotel right on the river. The hotel takes Southern hospitality seriously with its room service, rooftop bar and terrace, and on-site restaurant. You’ll get the true Savannah experience when you stay in the thoughtfully planned rooms with gorgeous artwork that highlight the best parts of the South.
When not in your hotel come and have the best riverwalk experience that Savannah, GA has to offer. Read about it here.
Some people prefer staying in Airbnb over hotels due to a more home feeling, a more authentic culture, more space, better amenities, bigger kitchens, washers & dryers, and sometimes a lower cost. If any of these things are non-negotiable for you, look into staying at an Airbnb during your trip to Savannah, GA.
Savannah, GA is one of the few places you can openly drink outside without worry of getting in trouble. The area has beautiful coastal landscapes, well-preserved architecture, and rich history as you’ll learn during your visit to The Prohibition Museum.
If you haven’t been yet, add it to your list of must-see places. Feel like you have too many haunted places to keep track of? Well, you are in luck. Here is a map of all the haunted places in Savannah, GA. Enjoy!
P.S. Can’t get enough of Savannah, GA? Then check out my guide on Savannah’s Historic District, your next dream destination.