AthFest: Dozens of Bands, With Or Without Wristbands

The 20th annual AthFest begins on Friday, June 24 with a nice piece of symmetry. Atlanta fixture and onetime Athens resident Kevn Kinney — best known as the leader of Drivin’ N Cryin’ — played the music and arts festival’s maiden voyage. This year, Kinney will reprise his role when he opens the proceedings Friday at 5 p.m.

AthFest 2015. Photo by Porter McLeod

AthFest 2015. Photo by Porter McLeod

An event that began as a device to bring foot traffic to downtown Athens during the student-deprived summer months has blossomed into one of the keystones of Georgia’s summer festival calendar. “It’s almost like a football game weekend,” says AthFest board member and booking chair Troy Aubrey. “You see the mass exodus of students around May, but a lot of the kids come back for this.” The free family-friendly fun and frolic draws roughly 10,000 for each of its three days.

AthFest’s musical offerings span two stages (three counting the KidsFest stage) situated a block and a half apart, the larger one directly in front of the iconic 40 Watt Club. Given the town’s well-deserved national reputation as a musical hotbed, it’s no surprise the big dawg’s share of acts are Athens-connected, including two of this year’s headliners: indie darlings Kishi Bashi (Sunday) and the two-drummer “more organic and folkie” Family and Friends (Friday). Meanwhile, Saturday boasts the one-two punch of Atlanta hip hop legends Arrested Development and Jessup-born Americana heavyweight and current Athens resident Randall Bramblett.

AthFest 2015. Photo by Porter McLeod

AthFest 2015. Photo by Porter McLeod

After the free music, AthFest also coordinates the late-night Club Crawl, for which a $30 wristband buys you access to multiple venues and sets over two nights by edgier bands like Athens’ current  high-fliers Mothers and perennial faves Elf Power, and Atlanta’s raucous Coathangers and the Black Lips. “I’ve got kids now. I’m not going out every night anymore, but this is a great way to get a crash course and see what’s really happening,” says Aubrey. “Take the kids to mom and dad’s house and get a wristband!” That wristband also scores you a discount for LaughFest, the 18-and-over comedy event at the Georgia Theatre the preceding Wednesday, as well as other related happenings.

AthFest offers lots of family-friendly fun. Photo by Porter McLeod.

AthFest offers lots of family-friendly fun. Photo by Porter McLeod.

In line with Athens’ grassroots spirit, AthFest also took a unique path to philanthropy. Once it began turning a profit, organizers looked for a way to channel the proceeds for community good. Enter AthFest Educates, the nonprofit created specifically to sustain music and arts education in Clarke County. So, by enjoying the current generation of Athens’ finest, you’ll also be paving the road for the next one.

glen-headshotGlen Sarvady is Georgia’s official Music Explorer. He has lived in Atlanta for more than 20 years, and has written about music both locally and nationally for at least as long. More recently, he has written regularly for the music/arts publication Stomp & Stammer as well as GeorgiaMusic.org.

Bike from Athens to Macon on the Antebellum Trail

Biking in Georgia

Savor spectacular scenery while biking the Antebellum Trail in Georgia.

One of Georgia’s newest bicycle trails travels through some of Georgia’s most historic communities on the Antebellum Trail. Cyclists can ride along sun-dappled country roads, past grand antebellum homes and quaint downtowns at just the right pace to take in the rich history of the old South. The Antebellum Trail Bicycle Route winds through seven historic communities that escaped Sherman’s march of fire and destruction through Georgia.

From Athens to Macon, the communities of Watkinsville, Madison, Eatonton, Milledgeville and Gray make up a collection of Georgia’s most beautiful towns and impressive architecture.

Fuel up for a long ride at Mama's Boy in Athens. Photo courtesy Mama's Boy, Facebook.

Fuel up for a long ride at Mama’s Boy in Athens. Photo courtesy Mama’s Boy, Facebook.

When exploring the Antebellum Trail by bicycle, you will experience an abundance of unique history, much tied to the American Civil War as well as Georgia’s Native American heritage. For fuel, finger-lickin’ good Southern cuisine just like Grandma made can be found in many locations along the path.

The cities of Athens and Macon, the largest along the route, anchor the trail at the north and south ends. In Athens, home of the University of Georgia, you will find one of the most vibrant biking, music and culinary destinations in the state. Bike lanes, wide shoulders, bike riders and considerate motorists are in abundance in the city limits. A stop at Mama’s Boy, outfitted with bike racks that cater to cyclists, is a must do for breakfast, brunch or lunch. Sit and stay to savor options from the “Southern fun” menu, such as chocolate cake for breakfast or Georgia peach French toast for lunch.

Traveling south, the next community on your way is the “Artland of Georgia,” Watkinsville. This friendly town has a thriving artists’ community known for its small-town charm. Make time to stop at The Eagle Tavern Museum, a stagecoach stop and tavern built in 1801.

Bike through beautiful Madison, Ga., on the Antebellum Trail.

Bike through beautiful Madison, Ga., on the Antebellum Trail.

As you continue to ride south, catch a glimpse of the Clydesdales running along the rolling countryside to Madison. A picturesque community and host to Bike Ride Across Georgia’s Spring Tune Up (April 15-17, 2016), this Southern gem survived General Sherman’s “March to the Sea” and is the second largest National Register Historic District in Georgia.

Carrying on over the scenic countryside, through a section of the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll arrive at the beautiful town center of Eatonton, the hometown of authors Joel Chandler Harris and Alice Walker. As you pass the residential district, featuring more than 100 antebellum and Victorian era structures, keep your eyes open as you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Sylvia the ghost at Panola Hall.

See the South on the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia

See the South on the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia

Now you are ready for the most challenging terrain leading in and out of Milledgeville, but it will be worth the sweat. The First Lady of Georgia, Milledgeville, was the Capital of Georgia during the Civil War. The town’s stately antebellum architecture, Civil War history, vibrant town center, nightlife, college culture and restaurants are welcome sights for cyclists. Park your bike at the Welcome Center and rest your legs as you hop aboard a guided trolley tour through town.

As you roll further south, follow the path of the Union soldiers during the March to the Sea down the streets of historic Old Clinton. You can tour the one-room school house museum and a Methodist cemetery, where many notable Georgians are buried. Gray, established in 1908 as the county seat of Jones, has antique and collectible shops, as well as local eating spots and a hotel. Enjoy the peaceful, easy feeling of these two countryside communities.

Sample soul food favorites at H&H in Macon.

Sample soul food favorites at H&H in Macon. Photo courtesy H&H, Facebook.

The southernmost point of the Antebellum Trail Bicycle Route concludes at the Visitors Center in Macon. Nearly 22 miles from Gray, Macon is known for its soulful music history and also offers opportunities to explore Native American, African American and Civil War heritages. Refuel at H&H Soul Food, an Allman Brothers Band favorite. They serve up plates of delicious smothered fried chicken; after all, you earned it.

The 170-mile Antebellum Trail Bicycle Route can be covered all at once or divided into shorter segments. Follow the 50-mile, three-day itinerary for the northern section of the trail, or the 130-mile, four-day itinerary for the southern section. More information on planning a bicycling tour of Georgia’s Antebellum Trail is available at www.bikeantebellum.com, including turn-by-turn directions from Georgia Bicycle Adventures.

Or drive the vehicle; we won’t tell anyone.

bonnie-webBonnie Simmons is the social media voice, website whiz and project coordinator for the Milledgeville-Baldwin CVB. Bonnie fell in love with the communities along Georgia’s Antebellum Trail while she attended Georgia College in Milledgeville and worked at the downtown staple establishment, The Brick. Now married and chasing a toddler, she appreciates the area’s family-friendly adventures, from walking at the Oconee River Greenway and touring the Uncle Remus Museum to attending all the local farmers markets.

Explore Georgia Wants to Find the World’s Biggest Georgia Music Fan!

shakykneesBSPEnter the #GeorgiaMusic Backstage Pass contest to win an eight-day
musical odyssey through Atlanta, Athens and Macon!

Georgia, known for musical heritage ranging from James Brown to Luke Bryan, is on a nationwide search for the most passionate Georgia music fan to explore the state’s vibrant music scenes and bring them to life via social media.

With its own rich and influential music heritage, including concerts, tours, landmarks and more than 100 music festivals statewide, Georgia offers authentic and memorable musical experiences that put fans closer than ever to their favorite artists from the past and present.

Georgia Theatre in Athens

Georgia Theatre is a prominent music venue in Athens that has hosted famous local bands such as REM and the B-52’s

The winner of the #GeorgiaMusic Backstage Pass contest and a guest will be treated to a tour of the state through Atlanta, Athens and Macon from May 8-15, 2016. During the trip, you will help us tell the stories of Georgia’s deep-rooted musical history on our blog and social media channels.

To enter the #GeorgiaMusic Backstage Pass contest, die-hard music fans must follow @ExploreGeorgia on Instagram, post a Georgia music-related photo using the hashtags #GeorgiaMusic and #GeorgiaMusicBackstagePass and tell us why you love Georgia music in the post. Don’t forget – your account must be public for us to see your submission!

Allman Brothers Band Museum Entrance

Get ready to rock when you roll into historic Macon, Georgia!

From April 4–15, 2016, Explore Georgia will collect entries and engage with contestants. On the final day we’ll select five finalists based on creative photography and fan engagement. The finalists’ entry will be posted to the ExploreGeorgia.org blog on April 18, 2016, for public voting. A winner will be announced on April 25, 2016.

Wilco at Shaky Knees Festival in Atlanta

Wilco at Shaky Knees in Atlanta. Photo by aLIVE Coverage, from Shaky Knees, Facebook.

The #GeorgiaMusic Backstage Pass grand prize includes:
  • Round-trip air transportation to/from Atlanta
  • Hotel accommodations (eight nights) in Atlanta, Athens and Macon
  • Rental car
  • Music-focused tours and experiences in Atlanta, Athens and Macon
  • Two VIP tickets to the Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta (May 13-15)
  • Daily stipend of $150

But that’s not all we’re giving away! One (1) runner-up will win two tickets to the Shaky Beats Music Festival, taking place May 20-22 at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. Shaky Beats features more than 40 top electronic, indie and hip-hop acts across three stages. And you thought Georgia was only about country music…

The winner must be 25 years of age or older and his/her accompanying guest must be 21 years of age or older by May 8, 2016. The winner must be available to travel May 8 – 15, 2016. The winner and guest must depart from an airport in the 48 contiguous United States.

Enter today for an opportunity to be at the center of Georgia’s music story and have the chance to win a trip to experience our vibrant music for yourself!

By entering this contest you agree to follow the terms and conditions set forth here.

Learn more about Georgia music at ExploreGeorgia.org/music.

Five of Our Favorite Georgia Brands

We sat down with the owners behind some of the best brands to hear their story, how Georgia has influenced their business and what their favorite things to do around the state are. Here’s what they had to say.

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Click here to jump to:
KEVIN’S | PEACH STATE PRIDE THE OLE BULL CO. 
R.L. MARTIN & CO | 
SOUTHERN PROPER 



Explore Georgia: What’s the story behind Kevin’s?
Kathleen Kelly, Co-Owner: Kevin started the company in 1979 in Tallahassee, Florida. It was primarily a gun and hunting store that also carried general sporting goods. I joined him in 1992 after we were married and together we transformed Kevin’s into a plantation lifestyle company. With Kevin being an authority on sporting guns and our company being situated in bobwhite quail country, it just made sense.  Our company is focused on this lifestyle, from the hunt to the home.

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EG: What makes you unique to Georgia?
KK: We have one of the most beautiful and well known high-grade gun rooms in the country with and amazing and unique collection of guns.  We also make our own Kevin’s Plantation Shotguns which have won awards in our industry and been featured in all the main sporting magazines.

EG: What are some of your favorite items right now?
KK: We try to offer as many “Made in America” products as we can! For example, our quail bracelet is made in Thomasville and the camo belt is made in Atlanta. Our customers know they will find unique items at Kevin’s, whether it’s a basic T-shirt or a Kevin’s custom designed Italian pewter bowl, ice and wine bucket we designed and had hand-made in limited quantities in Italy.

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EG: What should travelers see in Thomasville after they’re done shopping at Kevin’s?
KK: Definitely visit Pebble Hill Plantation, dine and shop in our downtown. Our town is amazing! A fun place to stay is Paxton House, within walking distance to us.

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Follow Kevin’s on Social: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER


 

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EG: What’s the story behind Peach State Pride?
Derek Chitwood, Founder & CEO
 I grew up picking peaches each summer with my Grandpa so I’ve always had a strong love for The Peach State. When I started Peach State Pride in 2009 I wanted to create a logo that instilled pride in our great state of Georgia, and in some way give back to the state.

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EG: What makes you unique to Georgia?
DC: I don’t think what we’re doing has really been done before. We promote our state; our towns, regions, communities, artists, athletes, and businesses, and we give 15% of our profits back to Georgia. We’re a clothing line, but really so much more than that.

EG: What’s on your must-have Peach State Pride list?
DC: Our hottest item is our Georgia Mesh Back Hat. I’m also a big fan of our Classic Button Downs for a more mature look.

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EG: What should visitors do if they’re around Athens?
DC
: You have to stop by Last Resort Grill and grab a meal! When the night rolls in, catch a show at the Georgia Theatre.

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In Watkinsville, it’s easy to relax. The Ashford Manor is an amazing Bed & Breakfast and Chops & Hops downtown is a must-stop for lunch or dinner. If you’re up in Lavonia, 211 Main Street Restaurant and Bakery is right around the corner from the store. And in the summertime, swing by our roadside stand at Chitwood Orchard for some of the best peaches you ever put in your mouth!

Follow Peach State on Social: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER


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EG: What’s the story behind The Ole Bull?
Miles Tinsley, Co-Founder: The Ole Bull Co. is all about local flavor! Our mission is to connect refined men and local craftsmen across the country. There are so many amazing products being crafted by small businesses in Georgia and other states at this very moment, but these products are difficult to find and even harder to compare.

ole2 EG: What makes you unique to Georgia?
MT: The Ole Bull Co. was founded and is headquartered in Atlanta, GA. We source many of our local and handmade products in Atlanta and other places around Georgia. The Ole Bull Co. is currently working with four Georgia companies whose products all have incredible craftsmanship and integrity. They are Go Forth Goods (Marietta), Proof Cocktail Syrup (Decatur), Cord Shoes + Boots (Atlanta) and Margaret Vera (Atlanta).

EG: What’s on your must-have list right now?
MT: We have some amazing products from our friends here in Georgia!  Two of our personal favorites are The Traveler Mug by Go Forth Goods and The Old Fashioned Cocktail Syrup by Proof Syrup. A lot of these businesses are right here in the Atlanta area.

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EG: What’s on your Atlanta bucket list?
MT: We’re always on the lookout for great places to grab a cold beer or to get our fill of delicious food. We spend a fair amount of time at Three Taverns Craft Brewery in Decatur. They have a refreshing assortment of beers and the brewery itself has a unique and rustic design. As far as sitting down for a classy dinner that is sure to please, we’d recommend checking out Southern Gentleman in Buckhead. They take comfort food to a whole other level, and offer an impressive list of aged whiskey.

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As massive BBQ enthusiasts, our final recommendation would be hitting up one of our three local favorites, each guaranteed to hit the spot. Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, D.B.A Barbecue, & Sweet Auburn Barbecue.

Follow The Ole Bull on Social: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER



RL MartinEG: What’s the story behind R.L. Martin & Co.?
Devan Martin, Owner: R. L. Martin & Co. is the men’s department inside Only Options, an apparel store that has been serving Valdosta, GA since 1983. My husband, Justin and I purchased the store in 2014, we dedicated a large space in the store to expand the men’s selection. R. L. Martin & Co. is a nod to Justin’s father, Ronald Martin, who was a buyer for Belk Hudson for 22 years before he passed away returning from a buying trip. We hope to continue the legacy of the fine gentleman he was.Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 6.33.45 PM

EG: What makes the store unique to Georgia?
DM: We are one of just a few specialty retailers of our kind in the state. We take a “support local” approach to business, carrying many Georgia based clothing and gift lines from brands such as South Georgia Pecan Co. gifts, Savannah Bee Company honey, Laurie Jo’s pepper jellies and more!

EG: What’s on your must-have list in the store right now?
DM: It is spring time, and we are dreaming of warmer weather and weekends at the club!  The E4 Performance Collection by Peter Millar allows you to look sharp and swing the club without the wrinkles.  We carry a large selection of E4 Performance pants, sports shirts, and outerwear. This breathable, easy care fabric, will look great for a dinner after a great day on the course!

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EG: What’s your favorite thing to do in Valdosta?
DM: Having brunch or dinner at Friends Grille and Bar is a MUST in Valdosta! Using only local produce, they specialize in modern, but laid-back southern cuisine. Chef Randy DeCoudres never disappoints!

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Follow R.L. Martin & Co on Social: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK


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What’s the story behind Southern Proper?
Ansley Kuhlke, Director of Wholesale: Inspired by the southern pillars of style, tradition, and authenticity, Southern Proper was created as the haberdashery for the Southern Gentleman in late 2005.

Emilie Claire Howard (fondly known as Emmie) and Regan Hardy Howell planted the company’s roots in Atlanta, Georgia and began building a men’s clothing line infused with their mutual appreciation for heritage and fashion, running deeper than a Southern Accent. Operating out of over 300 specialty retailers across the country and online, we continue to grow our brand while sustaining our appreciation for our homegrown roots!

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What makes you unique to Georgia?
AK:  Born and raised in Atlanta, Southern Proper has proudly maintained and celebrated it’s Georgia roots from its creation. Not only do our products display the propersouthern attire but truly represent the southern lifestyle from which we were all raised. Each collection is inspired by the life we all love to live right here in Georgia.

Whether you’re cheering on your team at a tailgate or spending a long weekend in Savannah, Southern Proper has you covered from head to toe! Remembering our heritage and resonating with our customers has always been the foundation of our company.

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What’s on your must-have list right now?
Screen Shot 2016-02-16 at 7.51.05 PMAK: We’re all eagerly anticipating warmer weather and even more excited to launch our spring collection. The must-have piece on the shelves right now is our new Dock Pullover.

On any given cloudy day or for chilly nights at the beach, this is the perfect transitional piece for spring in the south. Be sure to grab this fun and lightweight jacket in three great colors, available in stores and online now!

What’s on your Georgia bucket list?
AK: The ladies of SoPro highly recommend earning the triple crown…of Hot Dogs that is. In our humble opinion, a must-do for natives and visitors alike is to visit grab a delicious dog from each of the best places around Georgia: Atlanta’s own Varsity, Nu-Way of Macon, and Monroe’s in Americus. Your stomach will be all the happier after this mouth-watering journey around the empire state!

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Follow Southern Proper on Social: INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | TWITTER

 

 


B6RUpoACEAAGPPb.jpg-largePARKER WHIDBY is the Digital Content Specialist for Explore Georgia. She loves to travel, write & photograph all the amazing things Georgia has to offer. In her spare time, Parker enjoys painting, going to concerts, trying new restaurants & spending time with family, friends & her pups, Doc & Baxley.

 

10 Places to Visit in Athens When at a UGA Game

Between the Hedges in Athens

Between the Hedges | Photo courtesy of The Broad Collective

It’s that time of year again and if you are a Georgia Bulldogs fan, there is no place you’d rather be than in Athens, Georgia watching football on a Saturday. A fall breeze in the air, the smell of the grill while tailgating and a cold drink in your hand tends to conjure up all sorts of good memories for so many Georgians.

We live here every day so we get to see how great this city is up close and personal all the time. So we thought we would give you some recommendations for ten great places to check out when you’re visiting Athens for a UGA game.

We broke them into three categories for you so that no matter your mood or what point in the day you were at, you could ramp up your partying, kill some time with shopping or wind down before the long drive back to the real world. And better yet, all the recommendations are within walking distance to Sanford Stadium and your tailgate!

The Ramp Up

Creature Comforts in Athens

Creature Comforts | Photo courtesy of The Broad Collective

Creature Comforts – One of the best new breweries in the country. While they have only been around for less than two years, they have already won multiple national awards for their beers. They are in the old Snow Tire building that they beautifully renovated with the help from local woodworkers, Oneta Woodworks. It is a warm and inviting place and with four or five beers in their regular rotation there are plenty of options to choose from.

All Good Lounge – This bar is typically packed but they have two floors complete with a rooftop bar so there is plenty of room to spread out. Being in right in the heart of downtown, they leave their garage door open to let their energy out onto the street and the street’s energy into the bar. While it may be bustling, they have three distinct bars that run the length of the building so you won’t wait long at all and will have your choice of cocktail or beer.

Trappeze Pub* – An Athens staple for years, Trappeze not only has a ton of great beers on tap, but they have really good food to go with them. You won’t find many domestic beers here but you will find the most exhaustive beer menu in Athens full of craft beers from around the world. The best bet is to tell your knowledgeable bartender or server what kind of beers you typically enjoy and then let them go to work finding something that you’ll love.

The Georgia Theatre Rooftop* – When rebuilding the Georgia Theatre in 2011 after the fire that destroyed it, the owners wanted to add a new layer to the concerts they were famous for. So they added a rooftop bar that mixes great drinks with a great view. Food service is provided by the Branded Butcher downstairs and offers a great selection of burgers, sandwiches and tacos. So you can eat or drink (or both!) all while overlooking beautiful downtown Athens.

The Time Killers

Wuxtry Records in Athens

Wuxtry Records | Photo courtesy of The Broad Collective

Kristen Ashley Artist Shop/Dynamite/Community – We are cheating here: this is really three great businesses but since they are all right next to each other we thought we’d combine them into one. Kristen Ashley Artist Shop opened this year and is a beautiful art supply shop full of handmade stationary and other local art. Dynamite Clothing is one of the best vintage shops in Athens, which is saying a lot. Community is a gorgeously designed and decorated retail shop focusing on fashion and the products from local artists including many Athens themed items.

Wuxtry – One of the more popular spots for Athens visitors, it absolutely worth a trip. Wuxtry has been consistently showing up on ‘Best Record Store’ lists for years. And with their additional adjacent building for discounted records, Wuxtry Side Car, and their comic book shop upstairs, Bizarro-Wuxtry, they have the whole corner of College and Clayton to themselves.

Frontier – A great gift shop that carries a wide selection for both men and women. Many of the items come from local artists in Athens and the ones that don’t are carefully selected to reflect seasons and trends. From soaps to art to jewelry, Frontier has something for everyone and being in the middle of downtown, it’s an excellent space to pop into to escape the heat . . . or the game day crowds.

The Wind Down

The World Famous in Athens

The World Famous | Photo courtesy of The Broad Collective

The Grill* – Odds are if you’ve been to Athens, you’ve been to The Grill. You also know there is nothing better than gorging on their famous feta fries after a long day of football. A classic grill setup with jukeboxes and fountain drinks, it’s both a throwback for alumni and a savior for newbies.

The World Famous* – More bar than restaurant, The World Famous often gets overlooked for having some of the best food in Athens. The bar feels like a Pinterest board come to life thanks to its creative design and the Mason jars that all of their drinks come in. Local chalk artist Chris Collins also keeps their chalkboard colored with UGA-themed artwork during the season. Whether it’s a day game or night game, this is the perfect spot to grab food and drink as you wind down.

Seabear* – Relatively new to the Athens food scene, Peter Dale (The National, Condor Chocolates), Patrick Stubbers (The Four Courseman) and Chris Luken (Normal Bar, The National) opened Seabear Oyster Bar in the Fall of 2014. Since then they’ve been flying in fresh daily oysters from across the country with some of the best bar service in town with their signature cocktails and their well-thought-out beer selection. This is a great spot to stop on your way out of town and if you time it right, you can hit one of their two daily oyster happy hours when all oysters are $1.50.

* Also have food.

The Broad Collective Logo

The Broad Collective is a development engine for the artist, creative and small business community in Athens, Georgia. Their goal is to foster and advocate for a healthy and sustainable Athens by nurturing the community’s economic, communal and cultural growth.