Former President Jimmy Carter is making a homecoming to Savannah’s famed watering hole Pinkie Master’s this St. Patrick’s Day, sort of.
Friday morning, shortly after the bar opens at 7 a.m., the president’s grandson, Jason Carter, will be reinstalling the famed plaque that bears the former president’s image to the bar at 318 Drayton St.
The bar’s former owner, Guy Kirk, had threatened to saw the bar in half to remove the plaque when he was forced out of the space, but it didn’t come to that — although he did take the plaque and numerous other pieces of Pinkie’s memorabilia, including dozens of photos, when he left in early 2016.
Kirk, who couldn’t be reached for comment, opened another Pinkie’s location last year on Upper Factor’s Walk, but he was evicted in November. It seems the plaque has been making its rounds since then.
“It passed through several people,” said Matt Garappolo, who moved into the space on Drayton Street about a year ago and branded his bar “The Original.”
“It just showed up at the bar last week. It all happened organically.”
The plaque commemorates President Carter’s 1978 visit to the dive bar on St. Patrick’s Day when he stood on the bar and paid homage to his friend and the bar’s namesake, Luis Christopher Masterpolis, aka Pinkie Master, who had died the year before.
“This is the first time I ever heard Pinkie’s bar quiet,” Carter, who was president at the time, was quoted as saying in a Savannah Morning News report of the event.
Garappolo said he’s gotten a few of the photos back along with the Pinkie Master’s nameplate that hangs on the bottom of the glowing Pabst Blue Ribbon sign at the corner of Drayton and Harris streets. And with that, the bar is also back to its former name.
“As of today the nameplate is back up and it’s now The Original Pinkie Master’s,” Garappolo said Wednesday, although he wouldn’t elaborate on how that exactly happened, either.
“I’ll just say it happened,” he said of the name change.
Although Pinkie’s has been a staple in Savannah for more than 60 years, Garappolo celebrated his first year as owner earlier this year with pizza and drink specials on bourbon — and PBR, of course.
“It’s been great. It’s been fun,” Garappolo said of the first year. “It seems like people are really happy, so that makes us happy.”