Though it’s home to the University of Georgia, somehow a trip to the Classic City always feels like skipping school — especially in summer, when the students are away. The laid-back, small town atmosphere with so many places within walking distance to eat and drink makes us long for a taste of Athens.
Big City Bread Cafe, 393 N. Finley St., Athens, 706-353-0029, www.bigcitybreadcafe.com
Have breakfast, lunch or dinner under the trees on the Euro-style patio at this family-owned coffee shop, bakery and restaurant. The gruyère-stuffed Big City burger comes on toasted ciabatta, and the French toast is made with the bakery’s custard-dipped French bread.
255 W. Washington St., Athens, 706-549-4660, www.farm255.com
The Farm Burger guys' original farm-to-table outpost features all sorts of seasonal veggies, snappy housemade pickles and locavore entrees, such as Riverview Farms Berkshire pork with braised greens. The bar-only menu boasts $1 Terrapin draft and there’s live music most nights.
337 N. Hull St., Athens, 706-369-9767
Call it a dive bar if you must. But the Manhattan’s signature drink is about as coolly sophisticated as cocktail culture gets. The potent blend of Maker’s Mark and Blenheim spicy ginger ale is served on ice in a retro rocks glass with a slice of lemon.
232 W. Hancock Ave., Athens, 706-549-3450, www.thenationalrestaurant.com
Chef Peter Dale’s imaginative Mediterranean-meets-Southern food means lamb sliders with manchego cheese and hot pepper jelly or braised and crisped pork shoulder with Anson Mills hominy. An outstanding seasonal wine, beer and cocktail menu cinches the good times.
269 N.h Hull St., Athens, 706-543-8997, trappezepub.com
Trappeze (as in Trappist ale) is a serious beer bar with a huge selection of American craft brews, including hometown Terrapin, and lots of esoteric imports, such as Mikkeller from Denmark. The beer-centric pub grub, like Chimay Blue beef carbonade or Unibroue Ephemere-marinated barbecue pork, is good, too.
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