Speakeasy: A Look Inside of One of Savannah's Most Private Clubs


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Inside Savannah’s most private club: the Mata Hari.

So you’re ready to explore Mata Hari’s but have no key.  Try having a quiet chat with a hotel concierge and see if they hold the secret key or know someone who just may get you in the door.

 

Almost a century after prohibition turned us all into back-alley boozehounds, speakeasies and secret clubs continue to burrow their way into city nightlife, and for good reason. In Savannah, permeating through the downtown noise and tourist traps, Mata Hari’s is a tunnel to a different world. 

The Place: Step inside Mata Hari’s and you are immediately transported to the dimly lit study of a man of great means and influence. The owner, who we will simply call Kit, wanted the atmosphere to feel comfortable and elegant, “I loved the idea of it looking like a gentlemen’s study, a place where they do what they want in privacy, but also a place where anything can happen.” While the lighting is low, the music is high. A mix of jazz and Sinatra waft melodically around the small but cozy room.

The Entertainment: The bar has made a name for itself for its phenomenal burlesque shows. “There is a lounge singer early in the night doing multiple costume changes throughout the set,” says Kit, “but later in the night things get a little more lively.” The burlesque show features six individual numbers as well as games and comedians in between to engage the audience.

The Crowd: The dress code is light, upscale casual, though Kit says you will get turned away if you are wearing a baseball cap or tattered clothing. As far as even getting into the establishment though, the rules become a little hairy. “The only way to get into the lounge is if you have a key, or if you come with a member who has a key,” says Kit. “If you come in with a member and behave well, I might consider giving you a key at the end of the night,” she mentions with a smirk. Kit has also given exclusive membership to a few hotels in the area. 

The Drinks: Mata Hari’s drinks are served strong, with fine craft cocktails on the menu that would rival any jazz-age French bistro. Their signature special- the Mata Hari Martini- contains absinthe, and they aren’t shy about it. 

Kit is happy with the vagaries and lack of information circulating around town about Mata Hari’s. It’s clear that there is much more to be discovered about this secret little bar downtown. The only way to find out is to search for yourself. 

 

To read all about Savannah's most private club and ways to explore it, subscribe now or pick up the August/September issue of South Magazine. 

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