In search of... 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.

Farm 255

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.

Manhattan Cafe

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.

The National

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.

Trappeze Pub

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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