Game Day Guide: Athens Edition

A 'mistril show' performance captured in a 1963 Reflector yearbook. The people as well as the picture's photographer are not captioned.

A ‘mistril show’ performance captured in a 1963 Reflector yearbook. The people as well as the picture’s photographer are not captioned.

Michelle Pratt

With the Georgia Southern vs. University of Georgia game approaching this weekend and game tickets selling out in 11 minutes, you can expect a tidal wave of blue in gold to take over Athens.
If you’ve never been to a game day in this rowdy city, you may not know where to go or what to expect when you get there. From the best places to tailgate, to the best time to go to the bars to watch the game, we have you covered.

Tailgating:

gameday gsu
In Statesboro, there is no specific place tailgating takes place in. Sure there is the reserved spots by the stadium, but tailgating is happening at any neighborhood or parking lot within a mile radius of Paulson.
Athens on game days turns into one huge tailgate with the number of options to go is unlimited.
Different areas of Athens hold different tailgating atmospheres. If you want a more laid back environment, go to North Campus and if you want a more upbeat environment, make your way to Milledge Avenue where all the Fraternity and Sorority houses are located.
Being a University of Georgia senior advertising major and communications minor, Megan Heilman definitely knows the ins and outs of Athens’s game days and where the best tailgates are.

“Fraternity houses are so fun and you may even see a few parents there, and Silver Dollar is one of the most popular bars and it is awesome to tailgate there. Different family tailgates are on North Campus, so that’s where all the food will be,” Heilman said.

Sports Bars:

Photo Courtesy of groundersmusic.com
Photo Courtesy of groundersmusic.com

Let’s face it, not everyone has a ticket to the game. With tickets selling out in record time, chances are unless you were lucky enough to find a ticket through a friend, you most likely don’t have one.
However, Athens is the perfect city to watch a football game in because of the ridiculous amount of bars scattered throughout downtown.
The best bars to watch the game at are going to be the ones that have plenty of TV’s so you are not straining your neck to watch the one small TV in the corner of the bar.
“Silver Dollar is a great place to watch the game at because it has a huge screen that pulls down to show the game, as well as a bunch of TVs inside and outside,” Heilman said.
Some other top bars to watch the game are: Buddah, Cabin Room, Magnolias, Flanagans, and Jerzees.
If you’re not a big bar person, there are plenty of restaurants that show the game on TV as well.

Staying Safe:

Photo Courtesy of www.secrant.com
Photo Courtesy of www.secrant.com

Athens is much bigger than Statesboro and that can be overwhelming for first timers. So make sure you always have a game plan when going out and if you are drinking, don’t start to early.
Both Jessica Holman,a junior exercise science student at Georgia Southern and Athens local and Heilman agreed that the key to a game day in Athens is to “pace yourself.”
“Don’t start tailgating that early because it’s a 7 p.m. game, and if you go out after the game, expect it to be busy and take forever to get into one bar,” Holman said. “Don’t expect to be able to go from tailgate to tailgate easily because they are usually really far apart and majority of the time, people don’t even know where they are or what street they on are.”
Whether you are going to the game or you’re just there to tailgate and watch the game at the bars, you are bound to have fun in Athens.
If you have never been to Athens, make sure you are with friends who will stay with you the whole night because it can be really easy to get lost.
“Be respectful and smart, Athens can be an easy place to get overwhelmed with so much opportunity for fun,” Heilman said.

What to Wear:

Game day GSU
Athens is much bigger than Statesboro, so wearing comfy clothes is a must. With the never ending walking from tailgate to tailgate, the last thing you need is blisters on your feet.
Holman shared her tips on what to bring and wear to Athens’s game days.
“Definitely wear comfy shoes and clothes because chances are you will be doing a lot of walking to tailgates or to get to the stadium,” Holman said, “Also try to avoid bring anything extra into the game like an extra jacket or big purse because you will mostly likely not want to keep up with it the whole day.”
If you are going to Athens this weekend, make it one for the books and show Athens the team spirit that Georgia Southern has. Get ready for the time of your life because we’re not in Statesboro anymore.
Photos provided by Clare Mulherin and Michelle Pratt