Home / Articles / Special Sections / Best of Athens /  The Best of Athens 2012 - Nightlife
. . . . . . .
Wednesday, January 25,2012

The Best of Athens 2012 - Nightlife


Photo Caption: Tonys Tavern won Best Bar for People over 30 once again.

Best Bar for People Over 30

Tony's Tavern

As the No. 1 Party School in the United States, the Athens bar scene is overwhelmed by the 20-something crowd.

However, for those bar crawlers over 30, Tony's Tavern is the place to be with its laid-back environment and usual crowd that gets chummy with the bartenders on nights when the 20-somethings have to study.

First runner-up is Jackie O's Pub & Brewery and in third place, Casa Cantina.

We're not sure about what people who are exactly 30 years old do in Athens when it's time to head to the bars.

Best Open Stage

Donkey Coffey & Espresso

Keeping with results from the past two years, Donkey Coffee & Espresso has the Best Open Stage in Athens. And that's saying a lot since this town has so many open stages.

With a relaxed, alcohol-free environment, Donkey provides a great venue for people to express themselves through word and song to a receptive and respectful audience.

First runner-up in this category goes to Casa Nueva/Casa Cantina, and Jackie O's Pub & Brewery comes in third.

Best Bartender

Jonathan Holmberg

If you're looking for a drink made by the best bartender in town, look no further than Jackie O's Pub & Brewery, where the best bartender and his runner-up both work.

For a delicious concoction and personable drinking experience, look to Jackie O's Pub & Brewery's Jonathan Holmberg, and his co-worker and runner-up Bruce Reede. And Jonathan also wins the undersung prize for Best Bartender with a Chihuaua.

Coming in third place is the Pub's Ryan Singer.

Best bar pick-up line


Chivalry is very much dead when it comes to attempts to pick up chicks in the Athens bar scene.

While last year's best pick-up line at least awarded its victim a free drink, either people have become a lot more boring since last year, or are much more pressed for cash, with the best bar pick-up line voted as the very suave "Hello." 

"Can I buy you a drink?" earns the runner-up position with co-runner-up: "Nice shoes—wanna f---?", where chivalry truly rolls in its grave.

The third place awardee sheds more light on the dim chances of success with a boring, bribing or plain offensive pick-up line with the honest answer: "None have ever worked." The grammatically more correct, "None has ever worked," didn't get a vote.

Best Local Band or Performer

Elemental Groove Theory

Last year's rankings did a complete reverse this year with Elemental Groove Theory coming out on top.

The dynamic seven-piece band has a funky vibe and high energy on stage that promise a fun show for anyone in attendance and leave them wanting more.

Duke Jr. and the Smokey Boots come in second with their country-folk songs that have gained them popularity in the local music scene, and last year's winner (and frequent winner in past years), The Royales, come in third.

Best Live Music Venue

Jackie O's Pub & Brewery

Bands are champing at the bit to play at Jackie O's Pub & Brewery, voted the Best Live Music Venue in Athens. Athens' best local musicians Elemental Groove Theory, Duke Jr. and the Smokey Boots and The Royales have all played there, among countless others who have enjoyed playing at the eclectic yet relaxed venue.

Runner-up is The Union, the grungy hard-rock venue where local musicians as well as some greats (including The Black Keys, The White Stripes and Dave Davies) have come to play.

Third place goes to Casa Nueva/Casa Cantina.

Best Place to Dance

Casa Cantina

If you're looking for a place to get jiggy with it, look no further than the Casa Cantina.

With their recurring Open Doors Dance Nights and '80s dance night, it's no wonder that Casa Cantina won he most votes for Best Place to Dance in Athens.

Even on nights that aren't designated for dance, people will find themselves too overwhelmed by the beats coming from musician's amps or the restaurant's stereo to stand with their backs against the walls.

First runner-up in the category is The Union, where you have two options: To either dance, or die. No one in The Union would be caught dead on Dance or Die nights or the occasions when Dave Rave sweeps the bar off its stools and onto the dance floor.

In third place is Jackie O's Pub & Brewery, only a few doors down from The Union whenever you need a change of environment for your dance moves.

Best Happy Hour

Jackie O's Pub & Brewery

After 5 o'clock, the place to be is Jackie O's Pub & Brewery. Vent about your troubles and have a drink made by Athens' best bartender Jonathan Holmberg as you unwind from life's obligations and turn a blind eye to drinking before sunset.

First runner-up in this category is Pawpurr's, which will spare your purrrse a financial hit (plus a bunch of the A-News editor's pals go there every Friday), and third place goes to the Casa Cantina.

Best late night drunk food

O'Betty's Red Hot!

O'Betty's Red Hot! is the best place to go when you need to soak up hours of alcohol consumption and keep your night going.

Whether you're boozing at the bars down North Court or on Union Street, bar-hoppers can quickly grab a hot dog or fries at O'Betty's new Union Street location or the classic location on West State Street.

Not so coincidentally, the runner-up in this category is Good Fella's Pizza, which also has two locations perfectly situated in both of the bar strips. After a night of dancing at Casa Cantina, a bar hopper can stop at the Good Fella's on North Court, and if need be, grab another slice at the Union Street location before going into the Union to continue his or her boogie night.

Third place goes to Big Mamma's, which is conveniently located in between both bar strips.

Best place to go on a date

Casa Nueva/Casa Cantina

When wining-and-dining that special someone, Casa Nueva/Casa Cantina is the best place to go in Athens according to our readers this year.

The cozy dining section and no-rush service at Casa Nueva provide a great venue to learn more about the object of your desire and share a few laughs after first calming your nerves with a margarita in the Cantina. Just make sure to go easy on the beans!

First runner-up goes to Restaurant Salaam, which has arguably the most romantic ambiance with warm colors and lit candles.

Third place goes to Zoe, a great place for highly-refined couples to wrap their wine glasses around each other's arms. And yes, we still have a hard time figuring out how to put the umlaut on top of the "e" in Zoe.


  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

LOL Is it April Fools Day? It must be because these results are too ridiculous to be true! LOL I refuse to care about "The Best of..." anymore and no one else should either. The students obviously don't care if these are the results. One or two dance nights a month don't constitute a great place to dance. LOL I mean...if Subway and BW3's can wing Best Sub and is kind of obvious this is crap. Sorry but it is true. I might have to turn to the National Inquirer for my news now.



Connick 21, I think you should start your own Best of Athens survey. You obviously know better than anyone else what's "best" in Athens. TS



while I do believe that some people just vote on certain things only because they've won in the past (personally, I think the Pubs burgers are mediocre at best and they've won what, 18 years in a row?), it's hard to say that some of these places don't deserve it.  BWs probably wins best wings because they are always busy and they offer people more than just wings unlike their competitors.  It doesn't necessarily mean that the wings are the best, but when most people think of a place to watch sports, drink beer, and eat wings, what do they think?  In your defense, connick:), Red Brick does have good food, especially the wings.  And really good music and karaoke! 

Honestly, about places to dance, I don't think there are any really good places to go just to dance, but I know that the one or two dance nights a month are really popular at Casa..  So again, when people think about going somewhere good to dance, they probably think of dance night.  Not saying it's right, it's just how it is.  



I laugh every goddamn time anyone criticizes the Blurst of Athens and Terry Smith replies with WELL WHY DON'T YOU MAKE YOUR OWN?

Calm down, sunshine.  There is nothing wrong with criticism of an obviously flawed system.  (Speaking of flawed systems, this commenting software is the worst damn thing. No matter how many times I log in, it never ever works.  Ever!)



MaxPower, since I am at heart an entertainer, I'm so glad I can make you laugh. But seriously, make your own damn survey!