Editor’s Note: As we head into our last week of content on The Broad Collective, our talented teams of interns were given the opportunity to wrap everything up on our site as part of their final project for the semester. They chose to focus on the spirit of Athens by taking a look at five themes that have best come to represent what this city means to them. All week long they will be sharing stories, interviews, photos, videos, and most importantly, their reflections on these five rhythms that tell the story of Athens. Our intern team is made up of the following folks . . . all of which you should hire immediately before they become rock stars.
“Are you going Downtown?” said the entire city of Athens, Georgia.
But “going downtown” doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to everyone. There is never a lack of things to do, and with growth and development every single year, the heart of the Classic City continues to evolve with the addition of restaurants, clubs, bars, residences and shopping.
With over 80 bars in one square mile, the seemingly unlimited cocktail options is clearly the primary pull to the downtown area. The Athens nightlife scene offers plenty for students, visitors and seasoned townies alike, with an immense amount of diversity in types of bars and clubs, from dancing at 9ds and Little Kings Shuffle Club to enjoying a late night performance at The World Famous (with their life-changing fries), or even going to “church” on a Saturday night at Sister Louisa’s. There is truly something for everyone.
We’ve talked in depth about Athens food, and one of the best parts of Athens’s nightlife – and of Downtown – is the restaurants. Whether you’re looking for an Athens staple like The Grit, a nice dinner at the Last Resort, or late-late night drunk eats at The Grill, downtown and the essence of a “night out” in the Classic City would not be complete without the places to eat (not just drink).
Aside from eating and drinking, Athens nightlife holds with it a wealth of events that make the city special. The famous music scene holds a majority of its concerts and shows during the Downtown nightlife, and the growing comedy scene also sprouts its roots there.
And Downtown continues to evolve and develop everyday. The bars, clubs and restaurants are still central, but no longer the primary pull for visitors. A huge part of Downtown is of course the shopping. Local stores like Dynamite and Community that have been there for years line the streets right next to big-name brands new to the scene, such as Urban Outfitters and J. Crew. This adds to the cumulating diversity that appears downtown: the old and new, the local and the global, brought together to give shoppers variety and options.
But none of this yet encompasses the seasonal events that occur in the heart of Downtown: Halloween’s Wild Rumpus Parade, The Holiday Parade and annual lighting of the city Christmas Tree, and the breathtaking lights that go up by the close of November, letting us all know the best time of year is finally in our midst. These are nightlife events that bring an entire city together to celebrate together, build community together. And they choose the Downtown nightlife to celebrate in.
Downtown reflects the visible pulse of Athens, and it houses all the traditions and elements that make the city great: from award-winning restaurants, to music venues that have housed legends, to the Arch – the symbol of the University and of the state. The future of Downtown, of Athens nightlife, remains unseen – and that’s because of the borderline daily development the area sees. It is indisputable that growth and change will continue to happen. Some citizens may see this as a good thing, some as a bad. But no matter what happens to Downtown, Athenians can remain confident that their favorite part of town will continue to the be living and beating heart of the Classic City. The spirit remains, and always will.