Going back to Athens town

There are plenty of good times to be had in Athens. (University of Georgia)

There are plenty of good times to be had in Athens. (University of Georgia)

Come September, thousands will be making the trek to Athens for home games at Sanford Stadium. Many come in a day or two early; others linger through the weekend, enjoying the other attractions of a city widely acknowledged as one of the best college towns around.

Of course, you don’t have to wait for football season to enjoy the offerings of Athens, some of which are hailed in the current issue of Garden & Gun magazine, which calls Athens a place where “music, food and football” come together.

Besides hundreds of places to drink beer (as you’d expect in a college town), there are rich cultural offerings thanks to UGA and some great restaurants. (Last year, I ran down some favorite places to eat in the Classic City, and to that list I’d add the Royal Peasant Pub in Five Points, a tiny spot offering some of the best fish and chips around.)

But the thing Athens is best known for besides UGA and football is its internationally renowned music scene, which takes center stage at the annual AthFest festival of bands, movies and offerings for kids this weekend.

Any time is a good time to sample music in Athens, however. The best known venue in town is the 40 Watt Club, which books a mix of big names and local acts drawing both townies and the college crowd. And this time next year hopefully the rebuilt Georgia Theatre will be back in business, too.

Downtown Athens offers lots of places to eat and drink. (Downtown Athens Development Authority)

Downtown Athens offers lots of places to eat and drink. (Downtown Athens Development Authority)

In the meantime, the Melting Point, located in what once was an old foundry (and which oldtimers might remember as the Athens Steam Company nightclub), is probably the listening spot most alums would like since it draws a somewhat older crowd with its mix of singer-songwriters, country, jazz and bluegrass.

As for what places besides the 40 Watt and Melting Point are worth checking out, I threw that to my 25-year-old son, who got two degrees at UGA, and he said it depends on your taste in music.

Reports young Bill:

Caledonia Lounge is a pretty initmate spot with some really good indie rock, though it’s not always everyone’s cup of tea, as it can also be really weird indie rock.

“I actually like the outdoor area at Farm 255, which has a stage with those white Christmas lights and outdoor seating. That can be really nice on a pleasant evening and they do jazz, etc. in addition to rock. (A lot of these bars do different genres of music actually.)

Flicker Theatre & Bar is another pretty small space and can get into pretty obscure local indie stuff, but it’s not all bad. They also have a popcorn machine with free popcorn. I’ve never been to New Earth Music Hall, but it draws a pretty decent lineup, especially in the post-Georgia Theatre days. Little Kings Shuffle Club has bands and it has a large outdoor area with seating and cornhole (the game where you toss beanbags. Beloved by tailgaters.)”

Bill warns that those of us who get goosebumps when we hear the trumpeter in the southwest corner of Sanford Stadium “might not be so into places like Flicker and Caledonia, as those are the domain of the indie/artsy crowd of Athens. If they really want to see the Athens music scene, those are places to go,” but his experience is that many fans in Athens for a football game “want to get drunk in a bar that plays Journey at obnoxious levels and hit on some of the lovely co-eds. (Fortunately, there are about 40 of those bars downtown.)”

Bill says that’s why “I was able to sit at a table and have a conversation at Manhattan Cafe (westside of downtown indie bar where I’ve seen Mike Mills of R.E.M. multiple times) and could barely move in the Allgood Lounge (large undergrad bar with loud music and virtually no decor or charm to speak of) on the Saturday night after the South Carolina game.”

One thing’s for sure, whether the loud bar scene is your thing or you’d rather sip a quiet one at Trappeze or the Globe, Athens is a great place to hang out, even when the Dawgs aren’t playing. And, hey, if you drop by Bailey’s American Tavern, you might even run into Boss or Champ!

After a game or anytime, what are your favorite Athens nightspots?

161 comments Add your comment

Just a fan

June 25th, 2010
11:04 am

great article

schmeckdawg

June 25th, 2010
11:08 am

What’s better than a night in The Classic City? Two nights!!!!!!!

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!! GATA!!!!!!!!!

merbertmoover

June 25th, 2010
11:18 am

man, merbert’s gotta agree with little Bill there….caledonia and flicker rule, manhattan is super cool…but if you a fratboy from S.C. comin in town to get some play, don’t go to those places….you’ll be as freaked out as a turtle in a tire swing, you know what im sayin? it might scar your impressionable little columbia-centric minds…..Allgood sucks, Firehouse sucks…Transmet has a great upstairs bar….good mix of indie/punk/frat….tasty world has gotten better

Bob Dylan

June 25th, 2010
11:27 am

Garden and Gun ? Yeeeeeeeehaaaawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!
‘ow bout ‘em danged dawgs. Son!!! Gonna chug me sumbair!!!!!
Nothin like readin up on sum 10-20-10 and .270 rounds in the the same magazine!!!

destin dawg

June 25th, 2010
11:27 am

Great college town….. best place on the planet… pretty girls, food drink, fun and a good education… let’s complete this great recruiting class !! We have alot to offer student/athletes !!!

How2fish

June 25th, 2010
11:30 am

Suxs that I don’t get to Athens very often nowadays..but try and hit the Globe when I do.

UGA75

June 25th, 2010
11:34 am

Whatever happened to the B&L Warehouse?

How2fish

June 25th, 2010
11:36 am

Bob Dylan what’s your point? G&G is a great mag if you like to shoot or garden or just love the South..or is that not allowed in the new socialist state?

Sun Dried

June 25th, 2010
11:37 am

The Clarke County Jail seems to be the nightspot
where lots of players spend their weekends in the off-season.

Old Dawg

June 25th, 2010
11:37 am

Wonderful story, Bill. Makes me want to make a visit to Athens soon. I lived in Madison for a long time and really enjoyed the proximity to Dawgtown a lot!

Enjoy your weekend.

How2fish

June 25th, 2010
11:40 am

UGA75 now there is a blast from the past I think I buried my memories of that place!

Bob Dylan

June 25th, 2010
11:41 am

@How-live it up Dude and have fun; however, take your socialist drivel and rotate on it.

Spike

June 25th, 2010
11:42 am

The WOW wing place at Five Points, on Milledge. Going back a few years.. The Fifth Quarter, Papa Joes on Baxter Street, the B and L Warehouse, Bubbers, Coopers, the bar down on the Oconee at River Mill just to name a few. I want my ashes spread on Papa Joes when I kick the bucket.

guy

June 25th, 2010
11:45 am

another article about how great athens is? come on man. i know recycling is en vogue right now, but would it kill you to come up with something original?

future topics, choose and from the list:
- greatest dawg(sic) players ever (can be split into offense/defense if two columns are needed)
- greatest dawg (sic) win
- best rivalry (though you just used this one again, so better wait a week or so before going back to that well)
- how next year will totally be ‘the year’
- remembering that one time you had herschel walker and won a national title

UGA Alum

June 25th, 2010
11:46 am

GAWD I MISS THAT PLACE

How2fish

June 25th, 2010
11:49 am

Bob Dylan you cast aspersions on a fine magazine and by extension the people who read it, casting them in a negative light as dumb rednecks and I’m the socialist. Nice try..but lets keep this at an adult level shall we…I hate your music and your ugly.

guy

June 25th, 2010
11:49 am

though i will concede, athens is a great college town.

if it werent for all the uga fans around it might be perfect…

guy

June 25th, 2010
11:50 am

do adults not know the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ how2?

uga alum, i assume?

also, in other dawg (sic) news: http://www.ajc.com/sports/marathon-man-isner-loses-556503.html?cxtype=rss_sports_82015

How2fish

June 25th, 2010
11:58 am

guy wonderful suggestions I’m sure that all of those topics will get print prior to the kickoff of yet another successful football season..keep up the good work!

The Situation

June 25th, 2010
11:59 am

UPTOWN LOUNGE, CLASSIC CITY, BRASS MONKEY, G SPOT and ANNEX

Spike

June 25th, 2010
12:02 pm

Guy.. Don’t like the column? Then don’t read it and don’t comment.

Me

June 25th, 2010
12:03 pm

Garden and Gun?? You’re kidding, right??

Bob Dylan

June 25th, 2010
12:05 pm

@How- Somebody put diesel in your Bassboat? Just grab you a Rat’L Trap and go find yourself some lunkers buddy! I’m gonna read about trimmin Roses with a 30-06.

guy

June 25th, 2010
12:05 pm

speaking of dumb rednecks, i was in athens for a wedding last month and somehow ended up at beauregard’s. what a redneck craphole. rebel flags all over the place, confederate money framed on the walls. drinks served in mason jars. all it was missing to make it a uga frat boys wet dream were african american bartenders working for nothing.

god bless the south.

rrgunn

June 25th, 2010
12:10 pm

After a game, my favorite spot is 441 heading south to Macon. When its not gameday, I like Last Resort or the now closed Harry Bissitt’s

Big Dawg

June 25th, 2010
12:11 pm

ARe you kidding – Best hangout by far is Toppers!

JB

June 25th, 2010
12:12 pm

guy…..stay away and you will be happy……….as will we.

How2fish

June 25th, 2010
12:16 pm

Bob Dylan better idea why don’t you and guy try gargling with a 30-06. guy we don’t need your approval about anything..but if you want to continue to snivel go ahead.

BurningRedBleedingBlack

June 25th, 2010
12:25 pm

Athens!!! A very amazing town, i Agree bill not just for football reasons. I was born in Athens in 1983, lived there as a child moved away to south GA and have been here since. I have to say The state of georgia is beautiful in alot of differnet ways. South GA has lower lands and beaches on the coast, and North GA has pretty green hills. When i really became of age to apperciate the town for more than a football town, I went there when school was out for break in the summer. Thats when i realized how proud of was of that place for its culture and amazing it looked. I have to say i love this state and Athens will always be one of my favorite places to visit. Now that my school days are over i still try to take a break and make that drive for the Weekend, but being a dad with a 4 year girl makes it more of a challenge. Good stuff bill GO DAWGS!!!!

Real Texas Dawg

June 25th, 2010
12:33 pm

J&J Center….live NWA wrestling every Thursday night….red-neck honky-tonk Friday & Saturday! Whoa…I’m way too old!

NavySealDawg

June 25th, 2010
12:49 pm

Does anybody know if Allens bar and grill still stand, and what about the Black Forrest pasteries, thanks

PDX Dawg

June 25th, 2010
1:17 pm

Navy – allen’s has moved from prince ave to the other side of the navy school(former) – cant remember the name of that street. not sure about black forest bakery.

PDX Dawg

June 25th, 2010
1:22 pm

“Gun and Garden” magazine?? – never heard of it but that’s a hilarious name! LOL @ the “trimmin the roses with a 30-06″ comment.

Athens is a really great town and I miss it dearly.

GUY – get a life. No one cares about your opinion if all you’re going to to is insult people.

92 UGA Grad

June 25th, 2010
1:29 pm

guy, we spell “dawg” that way so dumb*** people from north of KY will know how to properly pronounce the word. We live in the South…if you don’t like it, Delta is ready when you are.

Spike

June 25th, 2010
1:33 pm

So is I-95 North.

JB

June 25th, 2010
1:43 pm

guy is probably married to a girl similar that appears on that “Jersey Shore” show…..Geez…
Boy, lucky him…….

93 Dawg

June 25th, 2010
1:45 pm

ME, THERE, NOW… PLEASE!!!

guy

June 25th, 2010
1:48 pm

geez, JB, can any of you uga grad form a complete sentence?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by . said: [...]

andrew

June 25th, 2010
2:09 pm

Jason

June 25th, 2010
2:17 pm

Georgia Bar – A Great Place to Drink

92 UGA Grad

June 25th, 2010
2:17 pm

guy, I’m certain my spelling and grammar were impeccable in my earlier post. The sentiment spelled out there was clear as well. If it bothers you so much that people actually look back on the years they spent in Athens with fondness and also look forward to spending beautiful fall afternoons there each year, then buy a Greyhound ticket, hop on Amtrak, or try to get your ‘73 Ford Pinto started and leave…please. And make sure the door hits you on the way out….

guy

June 25th, 2010
2:29 pm

man, i got downgraded from delta to greyhound in less than an hour… harsh.
i dont care if you look back on your time in athens with fondness. ive had many a fantastic weekend in the town. i just have a problem with stupid, redneck, racist BS that sometimes accompanies time spent in athens.

and my initial complaint was just that bill recycles the same 5 blog topics ad nauseam. though i suppose if it keeps getting page views there’s no incentive to come up with something new. hell, im here…

UGA is Just Fine...

June 25th, 2010
2:30 pm

Some of my best memories were hanging out on the deck at Steverino’s and/or Sons of Italy in spring spliting pitchers of beer, wings/pizza with friends. City Bar & the Engine Room were also favorites back in the day…15yrs and 20lbs ago!!

JB

June 25th, 2010
2:31 pm

Bring O’Malleys back, please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HBTD!!!

Spike

June 25th, 2010
2:35 pm

The Five Points Bottle Shop.. The best liquor store in town, after Bubbers closed.

How2fish

June 25th, 2010
2:35 pm

guy for the love of God stop your sniveling…just stop get help, ramp up your meds whatever it takes.

How2fish

June 25th, 2010
2:37 pm

JB where was O’Malleys located, I’ve been there but well the location is kinda fuzzy.

JB

June 25th, 2010
2:44 pm

Bro it was 1976 for me…..what’s an O’malley………allen’s on Prince for me with that ice on top of the mug in that beer and those char broiled little burgers……I’m 57. That’s the other JB i just noticed….He always signs off with HBTD

92 UGA Grad

June 25th, 2010
2:45 pm

guy, your initial complaint about Bill recycling storylines actually had merit (minus the shots at how we spell “Dawg”). Though, in Bill’s defense, coming up with a new topic for this blog on a day in late June cannot be the easiest thing in the world to do with football season still over 2 months away. On your last point, Athens does not have a monopoly on stupid, racist, rednecks…there are a few in every town in the South, but to focus on that when Athens has so many other great things to offer is really going out of your way to take a shot at one of the great college towns in this country.