Still a tad hung over from last night, The Ghost of Jay Cutler and I are on I-85 N heading out of Athens, the first stop on what looks to be a hell of a road trip. As a fitting follow-up to our ranking of various SEC fan bases (in which UGA came out on top, by our estimation), here is a only-slightly blurry account of our various undertakings in Athens.
First of all, hats off to our gracious host Ben, who let us crash in his vacant condo a couple miles from campus. Very nice fellow, this Ben, who called us a cab and even trusted our drunk asses with a copy of his house key.
So Athens had often been described to both of us as a larger version of Oxford. Although we had a hell of a time, that description doesn't quite fit. I'd say that it is more of a smaller Nashville. The city has a more progressive feel to it, less fratty and more granola; somehow though, these hippies still had a nice southern air about them. Also glad to report the general lack of fake tans and hair gel in Athens. Keep up the good work, guys. As far as other differences, Athens is significantly bigger, which has the expected set of tradeoffs and benefits. There are a million bars, but not as concentrated as the Square. But enough sociological commentary, on to our account of the evening.
So we took a cab (!!!) to downtown Athens, and after begrudgingly forking over a $16 fare, wandered around until we stumbled upon The Transmetropolitan, a pizza joint/bar with an impressive beer list. I had an Anchor Porter and Ghost had a Paulaner Hefeweizen to accompany a huge chicken pesto pizza. This place beats the hell out of Old Venice, folks. Minus OVPC's practice of hiring ridiculously hot girls, the place doesn't stack up in quality of food, drink selection, or price. That brings us to perhaps the most important discovery of the evening: booze is cheap in Athens. Cheap. $2 domestics almost everywhere. $3 premium beers and wells. $5 car bombs (with free tee shirts at Flanagan's). It's almost as if alcohol is subsidized by the Clarke county government.
This wonderful development allowed us to blindly wander around downtown Athens with only a few twenties between us and still get sufficiently boozed. Throughout the night, we went to the aforementioned pizza joint, The Copper Creek Brewing Company, Flanagan's, The Village Idiot, and a few other places whose names escape me. The highlights of our night include seeing Dave Bliss and all of his tongue-waving bullshit at Flanagan's; borrowing a couple of guitars from some coked-out rednecks and playing a few songs at a local open mic night (much to the delight of one of the creepsters and the chagrin of another); and seeing a local street performer/crack addict play obnoxious rap songs on a poorly tuned guitar.
Unfortunately, Willie James Huff a.k.a. "Funky Chicken" a.k.a. Allah Rackbar was nowhere to be seen. He's more than likely a big, addictive pile of worm food.
This morning we awoke and, looking to assuage the misery a good night of marathon bar-hopping causes, returned to downtown Athens to look for a good place to snag a cheap lunch. We stopped at The Thai Spoon and, after dropping no more than 7 bucks apiece for a few piles of curried chicken, we were more than satisfied. We then drove through UGA's campus to get a good look at the student body and Sanford Stadium. After our short campus tour we headed out of town.
Next stop: Asheville, NC with a brief detour to Clemson, SC. If our time spent Athens is any sort of indication, this trip should be a good one.