The Bayou Cafe
The Bayou Café on River Street: named by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the best dive bars and live music scenes in America. Founded by a working musician who has been bringing the best in rock and roll and blues music to River Street for 25 years, Bayou Café has also won numerous awards for its delicious Cajun food.
Bayou Café was the brainchild of Jerry Zambito, who played with the group Tangerine, then Hammer. Members from both bands went on to form the Southern rock band Blackfoot. Jerry has played with members of legendary Southern greats like The Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. He joined The Black Crows onstage at the Bayou Café when they showed up for an impromptu gig one night.
Since it opened in 1991, the café has featured live music seven nights a week with no cover charge. Zambito’s son Vincent runs the place now.
Bayou Café’s chef specializes in delicious Cajun food for folks to enjoy while they listen to the music, they’ve got two fully stocked bars to keep folks hydrated, and they may have the longest Happy Hour on earth, Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The bar rotates six beers on tap—IPA's, Dark Ale, Amber Ale and Light Beer—and over 40 bottled domestic and craft beers. They also serve specialty cocktails and traditional favorites.
Bayou Café’s live music scene includes local, regional and nationally known bands (check the website at bayousavannah.com for a list of upcoming artists), and house musicians who never disappoint. Sundays at 9 p.m. Don Coyer rocks electric classic rock and blues. Mondays, David Harbuck plays acoustic classic, Southern rock. Tuesdays at 9 is an open blues jam with Eric Culberson, a hang that attracts some of Savannah’s best musicians, and Wednesdays at 9, Thomas Claxton offers acoustic classic and modern rock. Eric Culberson is also the house blues trio every Thursday night, and they have the best local and regional classic rock & blues bands every Friday & Saturday night. Check the Bayou Café website for updates and links to the musicians’ pages.
When it comes to food, Bayou Café makes everything from scratch in-house. Seafood lovers will love raw oysters or Cajun battered and fried oysters with the café’s signature hot sauce. They’ve got crawfish, shrimp and Low Country boil. Cajun specialties include ettoufee, jambalaya, red beans and rice, seafood gumbo and po’boy sandwiches. They’ve even got alligator gumbo and alligator bites!
Through the years, Bayou Café has become a popular haunt for locals, visitors and even celebrities. Members of The Moody Blues, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Molly Hatchet have darkened the doorway. Suffice it to say, you never know exactly what will happen at Bayou Café, but it will always be Good Food. Good Tunes. Good Times.
The Bayou Café is located at 14 N. Abercorn Ramp. Phone is (912) 233-6411. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. on Sundays.