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Ellis Square

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Laid out in 1733, Ellis Square has the distinction of being one of Oglethorpe’s original four squares, along with Johnson, Telfair and Wright. It also has the distinction of being the most singularly ugly of all Savannah’s squares.

Ellis Square

In 1954, before the historic preservation movement really got going, Ellis Square was sold to business interests that demolished it and built a parking lot. It’s actually an ironic twist, that Ellis Square might be sold off and lose its dignity. Before the Civil War, this was the site of Savannah’s slave market. Karma can be tough.

The parking company’s 50-year lease ended in 2004 and Savannah wasted no time in redeveloping the square. But from an aesthetic viewpoint, there’s little doubt they did a poor job with the development. Perhaps they wanted something more modern and daring, but Ellis has none of its siblings’ charm. With plain cement in a circular shape and a total lack of vegetation, most tourists don’t even realize they’re in one of Savannah’s most historic spots.

The chintzy tourism zone of City Market sprouts off to the west of Ellis Square, where a statue of Johnny Mercer leans happily against his fire hydrant, And Paula Deen’s The Lady and Sons is nearby. But unless you’re desperate for a bench to stretch out on, after consuming too much greasy food, there’s not much reason to spend time in Ellis.

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Mercer Statue
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January 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm Comments (6)

Cool Coffee at the Sentient Bean

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Savannah’s coolest cafe has long been the Sentient Bean. That is, if you measure a cafe’s coolness by its hipster quotient. For us fashion-challenged, self-conscious non-hipsters, the Sentient Bean might be Savannah’s most stressful cafe. Still cool, though.

Savannah Cafe

The Sentient Bean is cool like, you enter and all the art students are at their tables, all facial piercings and flannel jackets, sipping coffee out of mugs they brought themselves, and you look down at yourself, in normal jeans and an Old Navy T-shirt, and you feel inadequate. It’s that kind of cool.

It’s cool like, the girl in front of you ordered a yerba matte, and then chatted with the barista about an old western movie that the Sentient Bean will be showing later that evening. A movie you’ve never even heard of. When it’s your turn to order, you’re all flustered and thinking that maybe you shouldn’t be shopping at Old Navy anymore, that you’re 33 for Christ’s sake, and you end up ordering a “medium coffee”, and your face gets even more red when you say that. Like it’s embarrassing. Then: “Cold out today, huh?” Good one! You make fabulous small talk!

You sit down with your medium coffee and watch the kid with dreadlocks read Proust. Two cute alternative girls are going through photographs, giggling. A red-headed guy who’s both immensely overweight and more fashionable than you’ve ever been, is sketching something. You fish out your iPhone to check your emails (0 new emails) and then play solitaire, just to be doing something. You impostor. You don’t belong here. Chug down your medium coffee and skedaddle.

The next time you go, you’ll be better. Cooler. More… sentient of your style and demeanor. You’ll show them.

The Sentient Bean – Website
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Learn How To Make The Perfect Cup of Coffee

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Sentient Bean

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December 13, 2010 at 12:27 pm Comments (8)
Ellis Square Laid out in 1733, Ellis Square has the distinction of being one of Oglethorpe's original four squares, along with Johnson, Telfair and Wright. It also has the distinction of being the most singularly ugly of all Savannah's squares.
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