6 – There’s a pretty big music scene going on in Athens if you’re into that kind of thing. Both of the main venues are 18+ to get in. The Georgia Theatre burned down a few years back, but was reopened in 2011 with a renovation that’s modernized the inside of the venue. Everyone raves about the quality of the experience of a show there and you won’t view just hacks. R.E.M. and the Dave Matthews Band have performed there in the past. There’s also a rooftop bar there that you can enjoy without going to a show. The 40 Watt Club is the other main music venue in Athens that gets acclaim. It’s standing room only, though, and has vigilant doormen. R.E.M. has been here too, but so has Nirvana and M.I.A.
7 – Like any college town, there are some food gems. Tlaloc, about a mile north of town, is a combination of El Salvadorian and Mexican food. They’re known for their gorditas and tacos that taste more authentic than you’d expect in Georgia. You’ll find Cali-N-Tito’s on Lumpkin St at the west side of campus. People enjoy it because it’s BYOB. It’s a student magnet with mostly outdoor seating. The plantains and Cuban sandwiches are the best things on the Cuban and South American food menu. Blind Pig Tavern has a dozen different burgers and standard bar fare the locals enjoy. The burgers of note are the Memphis (bacon and peanut butter) or the Burn’em (hot wing sauce, blue cheese, and jalapenos). Peaches Fine Foods is the southern soul food you’d expect in the area. It’s cafeteria style with your typical meat and three scenario. Fried chicken, lemon pepper chicken, and short ribs are the best of the meats. Cho Choo’s is a mix of reasonably good Japanese and Korean on the cheap. When it comes to late-night food, people love hitting The Grill. The milkshakes are the only remarkable thing you’ll have, but I’m sure you won’t care when eating after the bars. If you’d rather not sit down for diner food, you can walk down the street to Little Italy Pizza, which is good enough for your late-night needs.
8 – The two most famous restaurants in town are the high-end ones. Top Chef judge Hugh Acheson owns both Five & Ten and the National. Five & Ten was the first of the two that the “unibrow” opened, but it hasn’t fallen off. Enjoy the pork belly, sweetbreads, and the lamb chops. The $25 prix fixe is the cheap way to go if you get there early enough to eat at 6 p.m. The National offers a Mediterranean menu that skews Spanish. The chorizo, Maine scallop, shrimp and grits, and home fries with spicy tomato sauce are the highlights on the menu. The Branded Butcher is no slouch either, even if it’s not owned by a Top Chef judge. The farm-to-table food is good, but the bourbon selection is better.
9 – There are tons (repeat: tons) of bars in Athens. Most bars participate in some type of “power hour” drink special from 9-11 p.m. and they’re flooded Thursday through Saturday. All the spots are located on or a couple blocks away from Broad Street north of campus. Just be prepared to get to the good spots early or you’ll wait on some long lines. The most famous bar in town is Bourbon Street, which seems to end up on every list of top college bars in the country. You’ll find underclassmen everywhere, fish bowls being inhaled, and dancing a plenty at this two-story establishment. The other bar that gets a lot of attention is General Beauregard's (aka General’s). To no surprise, it’s decked out with a true southern Confederate look. The signature drink here is Dixieland Tea, a mason jar full of bourbon and sweet tea. City Bar may come off as less college and divey than the previous two options, but it’s just as energetic. Magnolia’s is another must-see for the bar scene. It’s got the southern charm with plenty of space and a crowd that isn’t as hyped up as the bars I previously mentioned. Allgood Lounge is another two-story space (there are a bunch of these as you can tell) with a cool rooftop patio. Head there during the day for the build-your-own Bloody Mary bar.
10 – There are few places that will serve you well if you’re looking for a large beer selection. Trappeze has over 200 beers, so you’ll easily find one (or five) that you can enjoy. Things aren’t as diverse at the Globe a couple blocks away. You’ll only be able to choose between 80 or so beers, but there are 40 different types of scotches to go with it. The Pub @ Gameday (the same Gameday of the apartment rentals) has 70 bottle beers to choose from and a good number of televisions for game watching. Moonshine bar is good for watching a game if you don’t end up at the stadium as they’re known to offer free shots for every touchdown scored. The Nowehere Bar has appeal for a more relaxing atmosphere. You can shoot some pool or mess around with a lively jukebox. You can check out more bar games at Boar’s Head Lounge, where they have pool, foosball, and table shuffleboard. There’s also a huge patio outside if the weather’s nice. And hey, if these bars don’t work out for you, there are another 50+ to investigate.