Music fans from all around head to Athens to catch alternative-rock acts at downtown's seminal 40 Watt Club , which is always hosting talented bands on the cusp of fame. Notable acts who built their following at 40 Watt include R.E.M., the B-52s, the Indigo Girls, Widespread Panic, and Pylon, but over the years patrons have caught countless other notables - 10,000 Maniacs, Bob Mould, and so on. The club also hosts the annual Boybutante Ball, one of the South's top GLBT fundraising events.

Athens hasn't had an official gay bar since long-running Boneshaker's closed in 2005. But the many bars and music clubs downtown and virtually all gay-friendly, this being a city with sizable GLBT population, and you're only an a little more than an hour from the lively gay bar scene in Atlanta. Note also that Atlanta's wonderfully offbeat homage to pop art, kitsch, and dive-bar drinking, Sister Louisa's Church (254 W. Clayton St., 706-850-3668) has an inviting outpost here in Athens.

Some of the restaurants covered in the Restaurant Guide, including Last Resort Grill, The National, and Trappeze Pub, also cultivate lively bar scenes. If you can't decide between coffee or a cocktail, check out atmospheric Walker's Coffee & Pub (128 College Ave., 706-543-1433), which is steps from UGA campus. Another favorite around town for hobnobbing and hoisting a mug is the lovably dive-y Manhattan Bar (337 N. Hull St., 706-369-9767).

Following a devastating fire, the legendary and historic Georgia Theatre (215 N. Lumpkin St., 706-850-7670) reopened following a beautiful rebuild. The rooftop bar and restaurant is an enjoyable spot for a drink or a snack. The theater books plenty of prominent bands and cool concerts.

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