The Crystal Beer Parlor building was the “Gerken Family Grocery Store” in the early 1900’s, with the owners living above it. It sold in the early 1930’s and was one of the first American eating establishments to serve alcohol after the repeal of Prohibition. Rumor was that they had been selling illegal liquor as a speakeasy during Prohibition. The walls were covered with scenes from Savannah’s past and portraits of people. In one room were blown up copies of the original menus. It’s a fairly large place in a wedge building on a ‘corner’ with a huge tented area in the back, where parking used to be. Inside is a counter room with stools and some booth seating and other rooms are a mix of tables and booths. Service was prompt, efficient and friendly. They are known for their burgers and housemade onion rings.
The ice tea had flavor and came in a large glass. The server offered us a to-go cup when we finished, if we wanted to take some with us. Nice touch.
The Classic Crystal Burger made with a half pound of griddled ground chuck with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and pickle. You could add cheese for $1 and one of us had American and the other cheddar. It came with fries but you could switch to their onion rings, made from scratch and fried to a golden color for $2.25. The burgers were cooked as requested, to medium rare and although not too drippy they had lots of flavor. The tomato had some color as well as taste and the pickles were in slices rather than spears. The onion rings were perfect. The light, crisp coating stuck well to the cooked onion inside. They were wonderful and worth the small upcharge.