Pinkie Master's Lounge

Welcome to Savannah, America's Most Beautiful City










Pinkie Masterís Lounge
by Jacob Cottingham








Pinkie Masterís Lounge belongs in a special class of dives and juke joints. Itís one of those cherished places that every night brings not only the same-old-routine, but holds regular promise for a world of potential. Pinkieís is the kind of bar that people go to have a tall boy PBR after work, or talk with a friend about impending life decisions and hours later find themselves faced with hugging a stranger on some nearby corner.

At Pinkieís, you just might sit down the bar from an old man with a free beer and hear a story about a funny robbery, or scar. Character that seems to seep off the wood paneled walls. Sometimes known as "Stinky Bastardís," the place should be an honorary member of the American Tobacco Farmers Association. Yet, in the same way we wouldnít have film noir or beat poetry sans cigarettes, without Pinkies straddling the line between gritty reality and honest illusions, Savannah wouldnít be the same.

In fact, America may not have been the same. It is said that Jimmy Carter, a personal friend of Mr. Masterís, once stood on the bar of Pinkieís and declared his intention to be President of the US. Today, you can place your beverage of choice on top of an inlaid bronze marker in that same spot. Pinkieís is an old Southern Democratic stronghold and the only bar in Savannah where they turn off the jukebox for a Presidential address.

That says something too, because Pinkieís has probably the best pound for pound jukebox in Savannah. Above it, like a patron Saint of suave hangs an old black and white photo of ĎPinkieí Himself, a man I know nothing of, and still love. He wears a sly smirk on his balding head, peering at you from behind thick black spectacles, as if to assure you that the drunken story you will take back from this night will be nothing compared to the ones he could tell you.

The music machine holds a healthy selection of obscure 80ís hits, some soul and sing-able rock collections, and thereís almost always a good rotation going --- a few non-intrusive songs followed by a good one you donít know and one that gets people either dancing or leaning wistfully against each other in a booth. Youíre guaranteed to hear both "Rock Lobster" and Tears for Fears. On especially drunken nights, or when the spirit moves, wily patrons or wizened bartenders may throw on Christmas carols, regardless of day or season -- a guaranteed way to create energy and stir the heart.

Walking into Pinkieís is like making history into a lotion. The Lounge has probably not been dusted since Pinkie himself went to drink from that great to-go cup in the sky some years ago and memorabilia takes up nearly all the available wall space. Thereís an old photo from 1949 of George Wallace as an amateur boxer.

Thereís a blatantly placed but faded Confederate Flag hanging proudly dusty, the most prominent memento in the room, as though to remind those uppity New York liberals that the South drags a lot of weight behind itís progressive politics.

My personal favorite is a poster (Graphic design gold medal winner 1967) of a young black youth, smiling and cute as a button, clutching a bitten piece of rye bread with the heading "You Donít Have to be Jewish to Love Levyís." Another poster from a bygone era proclaims "This is Sheriff Carl Griffin territory."

The Pinkieís clientele is also varied, hosting an assortment of incognito powerbrokers, drunken partiers, roughnecks, gays, SCAD students and professors, lots of news reporters, and an occasional off-course tourist. Often there is a cadre of bicycles chained to the stop sign out front, and the bartenders treat everyone like an old friend. If you love authentic personalities and blemished history, there is no better spot than Pinkie Masterís, a vortex of Savannah.
Questions? Comments?Email Jacob











previous HOME © Cima Star, 2005-2009