Although less famous, internationally speaking, than Magnolia Lane, Broad Street, the arterial heart of Augusta’s trying-to-thrive downtown district is just as historic and much easier to drive down.
Legend has it that the aptly named avenue was once the widest street east of the Mississippi. Whether that’s true or colorful Garden City lore is tough to determine. What is fact is that Broad Street has become a mecca for independent businesses and is one of the best places in the city to get a sense of the real Augusta. Here’s a look at a few of the essential stops, Broadly speaking.
Soul Bar (984 Broad St.):A hole-in-the-wall in the very best sense of the word, the well-weathered bar is considered by many the font from which Augusta’s downtown revitalization sprang. Although named in honor of Augusta’s own Mr. James Brown, it’s a bar as rooted in rock as its titular soul.
Sky City (1157 Broad St.): Over the past several years Sky City has become one of the premier live music venues in the region. While national acts have become particularly fond of it’s professionalism and eager audiences, it’s the local acts that remain the foundation on which the venue’s reputation is built.
Still Water Tap Room (974 Broad St.): A lovely living room of a bar, Still Water’s warm wood interiors, generous selection of taps and Americana and bluegrass soundtrack will make even the most tired golf fan feel at home.
Metro Pub And Coffee House (1054 Broad St.): By day a quiet coffee house and by night a raucous bar, Metro has a real Jekyll and Hyde personality – assuming, of course, that both Jekyll and Hyde are the most engaging of hosts.
The Eagle’s Nest (640 Broad St.): This bar, located atop one of the tallest buildings in town, offers the very best view of downtown. Well, the best view equipped with a cocktail napkin and a glass of something relaxing.
And don’t miss …
• The Playground (978 Broad St.)
• Firehouse (1145 Broad St.)
• 1102 Bar and Grill (1102 Broad St.)
Tire City Potters (210 10th St.): Although not officially on Broad, this gallery is a welcome grotto of local art. Take home a piece of pottery by owner Shishir Chokshi. It will look excellent on the mantle, right next to the new golf cap.
Vintage Ooollee (1121 Broad St.): A first stop for anyone looking for just the right frock – or frock coat, for that matter – for après tourney celebrations, this combination vintage clothing boutique and costume shop is more than merely a place to play dress up. It’s a serious store for fashion that never grows old.
Marketplace Antiques (1208 Broad St.): Equal parts garage sale and museum, Marketplace is all about the thrill of discovery. There’s always some interesting golf memorabilia to be found, as well as a seemingly endless array of jelly jar tumblers, should that be your thing.
The Book Tavern (930 Broad St.): Walk in and breathe deep. Soak in the scent of old paper, binding glue and cloth covers. That’s what nostalgia smells like. You can’t get that with a tablet. Of course, a trip to Book Tavern is about more than remembering how great a truly fine bookstore can be. It’s also an excellent spot to buy something to read.
Psychotronic (859½ Broad St.): It’s quite possible that nobody needs the vintage movie posters, comic books, pulp paperbacks and vinyl records that make up this small shop’s inventory. But we aren’t talking about need. We’re talking about desire. Fulfill your longing for pop culture. After all, nothing hits quite the spot as flipping through a ’70s Superman while Sabbath spins on the turntable.
And don’t miss …
• Zimmerman Gallery (1006 Broad St.)
• Gallery On the Row (1016 Broad St.)
• Rock Bottom Music (758 Broad St.)
• Merry’s Trash and Treasures (1236 Broad St.)
• Pyramid Music (824 Broad St.)