Illustration by Sarah Lawrence
Today’s Athens, GA City Guide comes from Alyssa DeHayes and Natasha Murphy, two friends living in Athens, Georgia. Alyssa is a publicist for record labels and independent artists in the US and abroad at the Athens-based Team Clermont. Natasha is a freelance web developer who spends her days building online projects. Both are UGA grads who share a love of live music, great food, fancy cocktails and online shopping.
Today, Alyssa and Natasha are giving us a tour of their home of Athens, GA. From eateries to flea markets, they share the best of this southern city. Thanks, Alyssa and Natasha, for this wonderful guide! — Stephanie
Read the full guide after the jump . . .
Check out this Google Map with all of the below listings!
The Branded Butcher
Charcuterie is the word at Chef Matthew Palmerlee’s new venture. Small plates of charcuterie rotate frequently, and if you’re anything like us, the dish of pimento goat cheese will be sparkling clean when you’re done with it. The brunch cocktail chalkboard boasts a Big Girl Mimosa.
Daily Co-op Groceries
Our local co-op and natural goods general store carries local and organic produce, health food, natural toiletries, pre-made sandwiches and dips, and bulk goods. Plenty of options for all dietary needs.
Locally sourced produce and meats from their area farm partners. Many of the employees spend time on the farm caring for the livestock and vegetables that make their way to the restaurant. Their locavore food truck serves affordable fare during lunch hours and sets up at community events during other hours. After dinner service, the outdoor stage on the patio showcases touring and local bands.
Five Star Day
The biscuits and gravy include five star-shaped biscuits, and the soul-chicken is a satisfying dinner choice. Home-style with a creative flair, you won’t leave hungry, as each entree feels like a warm hug. Fried green tomatoes, cornbread, and Hoppin’ John are highlights.
Your downtown soccer football headquarters, this traditional pub is great for a meal but even better for lingering. House-made potato chips with melted blue cheese, fish & chips, tandoori chicken salad, the economical Twin Pines diner burgers, and a solid draught list make this a great place to linger in a cozy booth.
An Athens legend, this place wrote the book on Southern-style vegetarian fare. In addition to the always hard to choose from daily special and veggie board, the menu boasts a big selection of international favorites such as falafel, samosas, and quesadillas. Their salsa and marinara recipes always turn out perfect. The brunch is definitely something you should try while you’re in town (especially if you’re out late the night before).
Jittery Joe’s Roaster
The flagship location of local coffee purveyor Jittery Joe’s, the roaster is where it all begins. Grab a cup on the front porch.
Make reservations if you plan on going for dinner. If you go for brunch, get there 15 minutes before it opens. A favorite of sorority girls and locals alike, brunch and lunch are surprisingly affordable ($8 entree options), and a dinner favorite is the Praline Chicken or Shrimp & Grits.
A truly memorable dining experience. Chef Peter Dale never fails to make good use of seasonal offerings and locally sourced meat and seafood. Menu highlights include gazpacho, boquerones, medjool dates with celery and manchego, the veggie plate . . . really everything on the menu is a highlight. The wine selection is among the best in town. Pro-tip: if you’re unable to get a reservation (they go fast), show up anyway. Seating at the bar and outdoor tables is first come, first serve.
Ted’s Most Best
Sister restaurant to the Grit, Ted’s boasts an impressive menu of personal pizzas. The arugula with an egg is one of our favorites! The patio is a great place to share an evening meal. There’s also a bocce ball court!
Indie South Fair
Athens is full of creative, independent spirits, and twice a year, the Indie South Fair provides a venue for them to showcase and sell their wares. Formerly called Athens Indie Craftstravaganza, it boasts a vintage market, kids’ activities, music, and local food carts.
Ciné Bar Café
Ciné is Athens’ independent movie theatre and art house. Sip a glass of wine or a latte and munch on a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie while taking in a film and the latest art exhibit.
Catch a Show
Known far and wide as a music town, there are shows at almost every venue every night of the week. Pick up a copy of Flagpole, the local alt weekly paper, and check the calendar for shows at 40 Watt Club, The Georgia Theatre, Caledonia Lounge, Melting Point, and the bars that also host shows. Athfest and Popfest host downtown festivals each year.
Held each May, Twilight is a fun-filled weekend of bike-related activity. The event culminates with a nighttime race through the cleared, shutdown streets of downtown Athens.
Adjacent to Trappeze you’ll find Highwire, the cocktail counterpart to the highly acclaimed craft beer bar. On some nights, you can get lost in one of the establishment’s many seating booths and listen to a full jazz set or other low-key musical performance. The two restaurants share a kitchen, so rest assured if you’re hungry; you’ll be able to get something to eat.
An Athens classic. Home of the Blenheim’s and Maker’s Mark cocktail. When proprietor Joey Tatum purchased the bar, he decided to leave the decor unchanged. Velvet paintings of beautiful ladies, a fantastic collection of vintage barware, and eclectic handmade furniture make this a must visit.
Also owned by Joey Tatum, Little Kings boasts one of the three best patios in town (there’s cornhole!). Weekend dance parties during the warmer months are a great prelude to nightswimming. Gummy bears and goldfish crackers are served during happy hour.
There are five pool tables, a foosball table, a good selection of pinball machines, and darts. There’s also one of those machines for playing erotic photo hunt. We never recognize the music they play (which says a lot), but we’re always so glad when we finally make our way to the bar for a reasonably priced pitcher of beer or extremely strong cocktail.
A very special place indeed. Trappeze boasts many beers on tap and far more in bottles. You won’t be able to order a Coors Light here, but you will get to try some amazing new beers — think Japanese saison with notes of lemongrass or a banana beer. Their food menu is pretty great, too. Highlights include a vegetarian Reuben with house-made pickled cabbage and a nice selection of cheeses.
A popular wedding and special events venue, the Foundry Park Inn (& Spa) offers everything. Its musical venue, the Melting Point, is a great place to see national acts like Yo La Tengo in a laid-back atmosphere.
Hotel Indigo offers hip furnishings and LEED Gold-certified facilities right at the end of downtown. Check out the local art in the gallery while sipping a cocktail from the bar.
It’s a tough task for vintage boutiques in any city to differentiate themselves, but Southern Vision has its own voice as a shop. Below Jittery Joe’s, downtown on Broad St., you’ll find skate supplies; band tees printed by the owner, Clancy; a large, organized record selection; and of course, vintage.
A self-proclaimed funk-junk extravaganza! You can find the coolest items at Agora! This large shop is filled with consignment spaces for vintage, antiques, records, and handmade items.
Awesome independent bookstore. Local proprietress Janet Geddis has done a fantastic job of creating a community-focused space for readings and other events.
With an emphasis on local and sustainable fashion, owner Sanni Baumgartner curates a boutique of well-edited vintage and local handmade accessories. Highlights include Community Service, a line of reworked vintage items altered to be wearable today, and jewelry by Laurel Hill.
Peruse owner Lori Palluck’s selection of fun and very wearable vintage clothing and jewelry.
A great place to pick up a gift for mom. Offers a great selection of scented candles and original handmade cards. Watch out for the cute store kitty!
Tibi, Diane Von Furstenburg, Longchamp, Vera Bradley, Frye, Marc by Marc Jacobs, BCBG — this is the place to go if you’re looking for designer items. Their twice-annual 70% off sale is seriously not to be missed.
Jackson Street Books
Browse the book selection for used treasures.
Go here if you’re in the market for cute dresses, awesome housewares, or boots. The stock moves fast, so if you see something you like, go ahead and give it a home.
Native America Gallery
Minnetonka moccasins, dream catchers, beading supplies, and turquoise jewelry galore make this specialty boutique a dependable place to pick up a gift for a friend or for yourself.
R. Wood Studio Ceramics
Lovely local pottery. Look out for annual studio sales!
Treehouse Kid & Craft
Super cute kid’s shop, DIY center, and craft supply store. Mom will wish the clothes came in her size, and the kids will want to learn about mom’s craft supplies. Unique toys, craft supplies like washi tape, craft classes, and more.
Independent record store carrying local releases and a wide selection of vinyl, old and new.
Carefully curated boutique featuring hip brands like Equipment, Stylestalker, One Teaspoon, and Chaser.
Big City Bread
The brunch line moves quickly, and dinner is a fun change from the usual downtown haunts. Grab a baguette to go, and keep an eye out for the holiday market in the courtyard.
Grab a gourmet picnic to go!
The pupusas! Oh, how they sing! Everything is wonderful at this out-of-the-way Mexican restaurant.
From the blue mason jar pendant lamps to the handmade tablecloths, you will feel right at home when you dine at Heirloom. The menu items are delicious, seasonal, and well thought out. Their brunch is among the best in Athens (seriously, try the grits). Each brunch features a new “love on a biscuit” offering. Our favorite so far has been pulled pork with a poached egg! The lunch service is also of note, with a rotating selection of sandwiches, soups, and salads made with the freshest locally sourced ingredients available. And the dinner service is perfect for those looking to dine in a quiet, relaxed atmosphere away from downtown. Wine dinners, cheese tastings, and other special events happen regularly, so be sure to check out the calendar on their website!
Ike & Jane
Go nuts for donuts! Lucky charms donuts, the Elvis donut (peanut butter, bacon, and banana), red velvet donuts . . . an endless selection of donuts and pastries! You can receive 10% off your purchase by talking like a pirate, singing your favorite Prince song, or following whatever instructions are posted behind the counter that day.
Marti’s at Midday
A gourmet to-go food shop. Try this cute little cafe for lunch or stop in before a picnic to pick up some of their curry chicken salad or pimento cheese!
Ken Manring makes some seriously good barbeque. And seriously good grilled vegetables. And one amazing happy top cheeseburger. Cash/local checks only.
A good place for Mexican food. A great place for drinking margaritas outside.
Local favorite for delicious Mexican fare; tasty margaritas and micheladas; and fast, friendly service.
1000 Faces Coffee Cupping
1000 Faces roasts coffee locally and sources beans based on their fair-trade manifesto (see the website!).
This neighborhood watering hole is locals’ refuge from the students downtown. Cocktail highlights include Hecho in Mexico, made with the natural cane sugar Mexican Coca-Cola, Mermaid Tears, and the Killer Bee.
Athens Farmer’s Market
The early bird gets the worm, or the heirloom tomato, or lacinato kale, or bushel of green beans. Worth waking early, local vendors are on hand with coffee and breakfast options, as well.
J&J Flea Market
Get there early for antiques, records, and bargains. The Mexican food inside one of the indoor markets will fill you up, and the leather vendor will personalize belts, dog collars, and keychains for you with Western flair. Warm months bring produce and plant vendors.
Kurt Wood Record Sale
Not to be missed! Check the site regularly to see when the next sale will be.
Add-Drug Pharmacy Counter
Grab a sandwich, milkshake, or a dab of pimento cheese on a burger while sitting at the classic pharmacy counter.
Cali & Tito’s
Delicious Cuban food served in one of the most eclectic dining environments you’ll ever see! The fish burrito is out of this world! Cash/local checks only.
Five & Ten
Recent James Beard-award winner Hugh Acheson helped make a name for good food in Athens. They have plans to relocate in 2012 to a bigger space. You can follow their progress on their website.
The Royal Peasant
Go watch a game of footie! Eat some fish & chips! Watch out, the curry’s surprisingly spicy! There’s limited seating at this British-centric pub, so be prepared to wait if you show up when there’s a good game on. Good for draft-beer lovers and soccer fans.
Hawthorne House is an interior design resource center that offers fabric by the yard, antiques, and design services.
Off the Beaten Path
– Visit the The State Botanical Garden of Georgia.
– Visit the Georgia Museum of Art (on campus, but open to the public!).
– Visit The Tree That Owns Itself. This tree’s former owner willed the land beneath it to the tree.
Chefs: Hugh Acheson