How a hotel became a brewpub
In the spring of 1999, Gene Beeco and John Pinkerton founded Moon River Brewing Company. The did so based on their obsession with creating the ideal restaurant and brewery experience. It was time for a uniquely Savannah brewpub.
Striving for this ideal, Moon River provides a comfortable and relaxing environment with prompt and cheerful service. The restaurant serves a delicious variety of freshly prepared foods. The kitchen offers a diverse range of dishes from simple comfort food to eclectic gourmet cuisine. Finally, everyone here is passionate about serving great beer.
Housed in one of the oldest, most historic and genuinely haunted buildings in Savannah, Moon River Brewing Company invites you to experience this history and our delicious food and hand-crafted beers first hand.
It all started with Elazer Early, a native of Charleston, South Carolina, who built our building as the City Hotel in 1821. Not only was it the first hotel in Savannah, but it was also home to the first branch of the United States Post Office in Savannah. It also housed a branch of the Bank of the United States. (Imagine the convenience of having a hotel, post office, bank and bar all under one roof!)
During the hotel’s tenure, many notable people stayed at the Hotel. They include War of 1812 hero Winfield Scott, the Marquis de Lafayette, the first three Commodores of the United Statues Navy and naturalist James Audubon. In fact, Audubon stayed six months at the hotel while attempting to sell books of his wildlife sketches.
In 1851, Peter Wiltberger bought the City Hotel. He renovated it and put a live lion and lioness on display to draw attention to his business.
The City Hotel’s final guest checked out in 1864, just before the arrival of General Tecumseh Sherman during the War of Northern Aggression and the subsequent closing of the hotel.
At the turn of the 20th century, the building was used as a lumber and coal warehouse. As the use of coal slowly died off, the building was used for general storage. In the 1960’s, the space was repurposed as an office supply store, complete with a large printing press.
The building sat empty until 1995 when it was renovated into its current configuration as a brew pub. The Moon River Brewing Company debuted in this space on April 10, 1999 and still welcomes all who pass by.
Come visit and join us in appreciating the past and embracing the future. Sit down, relax and enjoy a craft brew – or three!
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