Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint pays homage to a rich history of music, food, drink and socializing in the South. Every day is a celebration of our culture, transporting you to a bygone era in a beachfront setting where the past meets present day.
Take a walk with us down memory lane to historic St. Andrews Beach, right here on Jekyll Island. The only beach in Georgia that allowed African Americans when it was established in 1950, it was home to the Dolphin Club Lounge from 1959 to 1966. Juke joints like this one stretched across the Southeast during the era of segregation, providing African Americans with a place to escape societal pressures at a time when they were barred from white establishments.
Much like Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint today, the Dolphin Club Lounge offered top-notch dining to Jekyll Island beachgoers, and drew large crowds for its showcase of musicians touring on the Chitlin Circuit. This collection of black-owned nightclubs flourished in the region, giving rise to the sounds of rhythm and blues, soul, and rock & roll as we know them. The clubs provided safe places for traveling black entertainers – including now well-known names such as B.B. King, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding – to play, earn a living, and in some cases, catch their big break. From humble beginnings at rural crossroads, juke joints along the Chitlin Circuit shaped an important part of African American culture, leaving behind a tremendous musical legacy that we proudly continue to honor on the island.