The Legend Lives On
The History of the Crystal Beer Parlor
In the early 1900’s, what was to become the Crystal Beer Parlor opened as the “Gerken Family Grocery Store.” It was operated by a young Julius Weitz with his parents and siblings. They all lived upstairs over the store. Sold in the early Thirties to William “Blocko” and Connie Manning, The Crystal was one of the first American eating establishments to serve alcohol after the repeal of Prohibition. (Probably because the booze was already on the premises!) It’s rumored that Blocko ran illegal hooch and operated a speakeasy during Prohibition.
Native Savannahians still talk about The Crystal. Some got engaged here, had their first date or beer here or came with their family for a juicy burger, homemade fries and creamy crab stew. Many of the pictures on the walls depict scenes from Savannah’s past and some of her more famous and infamous citizens! Pictures from our family album are proudly displayed in the Monroe Room, lovingly named after Monroe Whitlock who, along with A.G. “Smitty” Smith, were servers here for almost 45 years.
The building and the interior are much as they were back when Blocko and Connie grilled burgers and poured draft beer here. Burgers were 30 cents and draft beer was 10 cents a glass! Times sure have changed, but our commitment to good, quality food at a fair price and efficient, friendly service are right in keeping with The Crystal’s long standing tradition of excellence!
We are proud to be a part of such a rich and colorful piece of Savannah’s past. We are at your service!
John NicholsClick To Enlarge
Photo courtesy of Savannah Jewish Archives and The Georgia Historical SocietyClick To Enlarge
A.G. “Smitty” Smith