Conversation venues

Please post comments about your favorite bars downtown where you can engage in conversation. In Athens we pride ourselves on our discourse over intellectual matters and politics, but I have found it difficult to find a bar downtown that doesn't blast music. I have been involved with a couple of groups that assembled to talk about politics, but discussion was hampered by noise and recorded music.

One group met at the Globe. By the time we had more than four people together it became impossible to hear because of the music. With the music at moderate volume everyone in the whole place had to speak loudly, making it even harder to hear. Even though this place has been called the "best bar in America" by Esquire magazine, Athens World has determined it is one of the worst places in Athens for a group discussion.

Max Canada was much worse. Another group has tried to meet here at a time when no one else was even patronizing the place. Multiple members of the group asked the bartender to turn down the music, but he barely tweaked the volume. This happened on two different days, and each time more than one member of the party asked for the music to be turned so they could have a group conversation. This group will not be returning to Max Canada.

So please let us know of a bar where it is actually possible to have a conversation. Is there one that doesn't even play music?


hillary said...

The Manhattan, Flicker, Little Kings. You might also try the patio most places.

ResidueOfDesign said...

To be completely honest, Adrian, I don't usually go to bars to have a conversation--the coffeehouses are far more user-friendly in that respect. If you force me to choose, I'd say Ciné, Flicker, what used to be Hot Corner. Also Speakeasy. I avoid The Manhattan like the plague.

Adrian Pritchett said...

Are you at liberty to tell me about The Manhattan? I've only been there once.

I might prefer coffeehouses myself, but they have become a problem. Hot Corner Coffee doesn't exist anymore. Walker's Pub doesn't have a lot of open space and tables that can be moved. Starbucks has limited space except for its upstairs area which stays really quiet with people reading and studying (can we intrude on the solitude?). ERC is small and has furniture designed for children.

Les Dilghow said...

Trappeze hands down. Best BEER selection and light music in the background, also have ample outdoor seating.

Molly's Muse said...

283 is pretty good. It depends on who is bartending but they have actually let me have control of the music picks at times in the past.

ResidueOfDesign said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ResidueOfDesign said...


Too many gossipy townies listening in on your conversations at Manhattan, butting in with their BS. (And come on, look what the bar's named after--I think that says it all.)

Ciné is nice but echoy. Late night, it's usually not crowded. Or any other time of day, for that matter.

ERC is terrible, enough said.

I deeply miss Blue Sky, despite all my pseudo-anti-townie posing. I did at one time just flat out refuse to go there, owing to the proliferation of scarf-wearing freaks and 18-year-olds drinking coffee for the first time. But it had a certain charm before they tried to make it an eatery, and in so doing killed it.

It's a shame that Hot Corner has transmogrified into a...something, whatever Trappeze has changed it into.

The Starbucks near the mall is surprisingly tranquil, if you're on that side of town.

Borders has a really nice café, magazines close by. I don't like Barnes and Noble's cafe--nowhere to plug in anything, tiny tables, nosy staff, no sense of privacy at all.

There are also several restaurants downtown that can essentially serve the same function as a coffeehouse. Use yr imagination here--Doc Chey's, The Bluebird, DePalma's if you're rich, Taco Stand if you aren't, The Grill, Transmet. NOT Wild Wing, under any circumstances.

In other words, explore beyond the coffeehouse, because when you look into the coffeehouse, the coffeehouse also looks into you.

Adrian Pritchett said...

Thanks for sharing, guys. Yes, Residue, I am against "townies" at times, but then I realize Athens is only interesting because of the "townie" features.