Georgia Bulldogs: Top 10 Bars in Athens on Gameday

by Dustin Schutte

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Athens, known to many as the Classic City, is home to plenty of classic bars. And when the Dawgs are in town, fans are barking for an ice-cold beer or a specialty cocktail as part of a pre-game party or post-game celebration.

We talked with Wes BlankenshipJake Reuse and Palmer Thombs of Dawgs HQ to get insight on some of the best bars and pubs in Athens on gameday. It’s no surprise that there are plenty of great choices.

Creature Comforts Brewing Co.

  • Location: 271 W Hancock Ave.
  • Distance to Sanford Stadium: 0.8 miles (17-minute walk)
  • Saturday Hours: 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Known For: Tropicalia
  • Website

If you’re into the craft beer scene, add Creature Comforts to your checklist for gameday. It’s got a vast selection of brews in the taproom — most famously Tropicalia. The IPA has taken on a life of its own around Athens (and beyond, really).

Most bars and restaurants are going to be crowded when the Dawgs are in town. The great thing about Creature Comforts? There’s plenty of space and seating indoors and outside. That can be hard to find on gameday.

“Creature Comforts has the best beer in town … maybe in the South. Be sure to try Tropicalia, but Kosmic Debris is a hidden gem.”

Jake Reuse, Dawgs HQ

Want to try multiple beers? No problem. You can order a flight and sample four different brews. And, if you hit the taproom frequently enough, you’ll get to sample even more, with seasonal and limited-time releases throughout the year.

Order a flight and receive four 5 oz pours of your favorite beers at Creature Comforts Brewing Co. in Athens (Photo By: Dustin Schutte/Outsider)

Paloma Park

  • Location: 235 W. Washington St.
  • Distance to Sanford Stadium: 0.7 miles (15-minute walk)
  • Saturday Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m./ 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.
  • Known For: Happy Hour Specials Every Day
  • Website

Looking for a spot with a plethora of options on the drink menu? Paloma Park might be one of the best spots for that in downtown Athens. Like Creature Comforts, Paloma Park has plenty of space for indoor and outdoor seating. This spot also breaks out the big-screen televisions, allowing fans to watch the Dawgs or other teams across SEC country on a Saturday afternoon.

On Saturday, it also offers $4 mimosas and sangria, as well as $10 pitchers. But, if you’re in the mood for a specialty cocktail, don’t worry, Paloma Park offers those, as well.

“Paloma Park has big screens, live music and outdoor seating. It’s a great spot.”

Palmer Thombs, Dawgs HQ

Our recommendation is the Honey Old Fashioned, giving fans a perfect introduction to southern lifestyle in the fall. What goes better with SEC football than bourbon?

Paloma Park also has great appetizers and tapas that can be turned into a meal. If you’re interested in a one-stop-shop with plenty of options, this is a great place.

Cutters Pub

  • Location: 120 E. Clayton St.
  • Distance to Sanford Stadium: 0.6 miles (12-minute walk)
  • Saturday Hours: 12 p.m. – 2 a.m.
  • Known For: Bourbon Selection
  • Website

A great Irish bar in the heart of downtown Athens. Along with a vast selection of craft beers, Cutters Pub also offers a wide bourbon and whiskey selection. And because it opens at noon, it’s a place you can stop in for a quick drink or spend hours watching college football.

“This is a great Irish bar and a good place to sit and watch college football.”

Palmer Thombs, Dawgs HQ

Sometimes, simplicity is a good thing. Cutters Pub offers billiards and foosball in case you need a little something extra, but this Irish bar is known as a great space to relax and enjoy the atmosphere before heading down to Sanford Stadium for kickoff.

Magnolias Bar of Athens

  • Location: 312 E. Broad St.
  • Distance to Sanford Stadium: 0.5 miles (11-minute walk)
  • Saturday Hours: 3 p.m. – 2 a.m.
  • Known For: Magnolias Margarita
  • Website

When you’re visiting Athens, you’ll inadvertently stumble across a theme: History. By it’s own account, Magnolias is a “sophisticated, yet casual” bar located close to campus. Technically, it’s the closest downtown bar to Sanford Stadium, so that’s a pretty nice benefit.

Magnolias has six signature cocktails, with two margaritas being among the most popular. You can also select from wine and beer menus that includes local crafts and domestic and imported beers. This historic spot also breaks out the projectors and multiple televisions for your viewing pleasure.

“Magnolias usually has fewer college students. So, it’s a good spot downtown for a more adult atmosphere.”

Palmer Thombs, Dawgs HQ

In 2019, UGA Red & Black voted Magnolias as the “Best Bar to Celebrate a UGA Win.” It’s also a great spot for alumni and some of the non-college Bulldog fans.

City Bar

  • Location:  220 College Ave.
  • Distance to Sanford Stadium: 0.6 miles (12-minute walk)
  • Saturday Hours: 12 p.m. – 2 a.m.
  • Known For: Gameday Drink Specials
  • Website

City Bar is a popular spot among the locals in Athens, making it a popular place on Saturday afternoons. On Saturdays, it offers great drink specials for every budget. It’s also a great establishment to watch the game, with viewing parties whether UGA is at Sanford Stadium or on the road.

This might be more of a bar for the younger crowd but you’ll find a nice mixture, too. Plus, you’ve gotta check out the small tile floor, which has become synonymous with this fun spot — strange as it may sound.

Allgood Lounge

  • Location: 256 E. Clayton St.
  • Distance to Sanford Stadium: 0.6 miles (12-minute walk)
  • Saturday Hours: 3 p.m. – 2 a.m.
  • Known For: O-Bomb
  • Website

This bar is a hit on multiple levels. Literally. Allgood offers two full-service bars and a “tiki” bar on the rooftop patio. Basically, it has a little something for everyone.

The brick interior gives off the old-school feel at this Athens spot. It attracts both the younger and the adult crowds, creating a nice mix of past and present UGA students. It also provides a list of signature cocktails and shots for all your gameday moods. If you want the full experience, order the O-Bomb, which consists of orange vodka, orange juice and Red Bull.

Not going to Sanford Stadium? No problem. Allgood has plenty of televisions all throughout its three levels. So, you won’t have to miss a minute of the game while visiting this downtown staple.

Trappeze Pub

  • Location: 269 N. Hull St.
  • Distance to Sanford Stadium: 0.7 miles (14-minute walk)
  • Saturday Hours: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
  • Known For: Expansive Beer Selection
  • Website

Trappeze Pub may not be a local brewery but it’s another beer lover’s destination while in downtown Athens. This location is known for having an expansive beer menu, which includes 33 on tap and “hundreds” of bottles, per the website.

While the pub might emphasize beer, it’s not the only option. There are also handcrafted cocktails and wines available for those with a different palate.

Trappeze is also known as a solid spot for gameday grub — with the Turkey & Swiss receiving rave reviews. So, grab a sandwich and appetizer and a few cold brews and enjoy this beer-lover’s hub for a few hours before kickoff or after the fourth quarter.

Hey, it was named the best college bar in America in 2013 for a reason.

Hi-Lo Lounge

  • Location: 1354 Prince Ave.
  • Distance to Sanford Stadium: 2 miles (you’re probably not walking — but 41 minutes)
  • Saturday Hours: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
  • Known For: Rotating Draught Beer List
  • Website

Not everyone is into spending all day downtown. That’s OK. So, for those who want to maintain a little distance — but stay within a reasonable distance of UGA’s campus — Hi-Lo Lounge is an excellent option.

Hi-Lo is another locale for beer fans. It has a draught beer list that rotates frequently, meaning you might get to sample quite a few brews depending on how frequently you visit Athens on gameday. Plus, this establishment also offers several more beer options in bottles and cans.

“I’d suggest drinks at Hi-Lo, because it’s one of Athens’ best bars. It’s also got some awesome food. Try the Reuben or Chicago Dog.”

Jake Reuse, Dawgs HQ

If you’re a beer drinker and hope to avoid downtown until the Dawgs are on the field, Hi-Lo serves as a great option. And it’s only two miles away — so it’s not too far.

Georgia Theatre Rooftop Bar

  • Location: 215 N. Lumpkin St.
  • Distance to Sanford Stadium: 0.6 miles (12-minute walk)
  • Saturday Hours: 12 p.m. – 12 a.m.
  • Known For: Atmosphere
  • Website

The atmosphere of a bar can sometimes be the difference between a great experience and a “never again” mentality. Fortunately, the Georgia Theatre Rooftop Bar provides one of the best bar environments in all of Athens. And because it typically airs UGA games on Saturday, fans can get a great college football atmosphere without entering Sanford Stadium.

The Georgia Theatre is as iconic as they come in SEC land. Whether you visit the rooftop for a game or just stop by for a beer or two … or three … or four, you won’t be disappointed.

The iconic Georgia Theatre in downtown Athens (Photo By: Dustin Schutte/Outsider)

Manhattan Cafe

  • Location: 337 N. Hull St.
  • Distance to Sanford Stadium: 0.7 miles (14-minute walk)
  • Saturday Hours: 4 p.m. – 2 a.m.
  • Known For: Bulleit & Blenheim
  • Website

Every list should have one traditional dive bar, right? Manhattan Cafe fits the bill better than any spot we’ve mentioned previously. And it’s within a 15-minute walk of the stadium, close to Dawg Gone Good BBQ and The World Famous — both of which made our list of Top 10 Restaurants in Athens on Gameday.

“Gotta stop at Manhattan Cafe for a classic dive bar.”

Jake Reuse, Dawgs HQ

If you’re stopping at Manhattan Cafe, you might as well grab a Bulleit (bourbon) and Blenheim (ginger ale), one of the favorites among visitors to this spot.

Simplicity is key at Manhattan Cafe. Walk in, enjoy a few drinks and head over to the game. For some, that’s the perfect way to spend a gameday in any college town.

Honorable Mentions

FIVE (269 N. Hull St. Suite 100)

This might be one of the more unique bar concepts in Athens. You’re looking at a menu of five options in each category and it changes frequently. But this place can get pretty crowded on gameday, so you might wait awhile to get in. If you have some extra time, though, it might be worth a shot.

Normal Bar (1365 Price Ave.)

Like Hi-Lo, Normal Bar is away from the downtown action — which is great for some people. It’s located 2.4 miles away from Sanford Stadium, so Uber might be your best option on gameday. If you do hit up this spot before a Dawgs kickoff, be sure to try the “Killer Bee.”

Boar’s Head Lounge (260 E. Washington)

Boar’s Head Lounge is a great gameday spot and easily could’ve cracked the top 10. Maybe it should get an honorable-honorable mention? There’s plenty of indoor and outdoor space and is a quality hub for newer and older UGA fans, alike.

Nowhere Bar (240 N. Lumpkin St.)

If you’re looking for something a little bit different, Nowhere Bar is a great option. It resembles a true pool hall and also hosts plenty of live music. This is a great place to enjoy a few beers before or after the game.

College Student Bars

Bourbon Street (333 E. Broad St.)

This is a common spot among current UGA students. A great college-bar feel and atmosphere with plenty of cheap drink specials that is kind on even the slimmest wallets.

Moonshine Bar (275 E. Clayton)

Moonshine can be a great place for current students to gather, regardless of occasion. You can watch the Dawgs and more SEC football from this location and watch it transition into the party hub when the sun goes down.

The Roadhouse (137 N. Lumpkin St.)

If you’re a Georgia student and love live music, The Roadhouse might be the best option. Like the other bars on this list, The Roadhouse offers affordable drinks and provides a great live music scene.

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