Pop Rocks

Steven Uhles is a guest entertainment columnist

Pop Rocks: Make a stop on Broad Street for food, music, more

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Located less than five minutes from the tournament gates and at the center of Augusta’s historic downtown district, Broad Street remains undiscovered country for many visitors. That’s a shame.

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Farmhaus Burger, at Broad and 12th streets, focuses on local products and fat, juicy burgers. It's one of many restaurants to choose from downtown.  EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
EMILY ROSE BENNETT/FILE
Farmhaus Burger, at Broad and 12th streets, focuses on local products and fat, juicy burgers. It's one of many restaurants to choose from downtown.

The heart of Augusta’s arts and entertainment scene, Broad Street has quietly become not only a textbook example of city center revitalization, but, for a single week in April, an excellent place to avoid post-tournament crowds. Here’s a look at what it has to offer.

BARS

SOUL BAR (984 Broad St.): It’s only appropriate to start any tour of Broad Street at this classic Augusta watering hole. One of the first success stories of the district’s revitalization, this tribute to Augusta’s famous Godfather remains a firm favorite among locals and visitors alike. Buy a beer and take home the T-shirt.

SKY CITY (1157 Broad St.): Over the past several years Sky City has become one of the premier live-music venues in the region. Capable of attracting national tours while still keeping its stage open for talented locals, Sky City was built with musicians and music fans in mind. This week’s acts include Americana artist Lera Lynn on Thursday, rising Athens, Ga., act Brothers on Friday and a special live version of the bar’s monthly ’80s dance party featuring the Talking Heads tribute act Same As It Ever Was on Saturday.

STILL WATER TAP ROOM (974 Broad St.): A quiet place not afraid, on occasion, to get loud, Still Water specializes in Americana and bluegrass music while maintaining a diverse selection of beers and making patrons feel right at home. I recommend watching the street scene from one of the bar’s sidewalk rockers.

METRO PUB AND COFFEE HOUSE (1054 Broad St.): This bar has a bit of a Clark Kent complex. By day it’s a great place for a quiet coffee and watching the world walk by its busy corner. At night, it becomes a lively bar where, theoretically, you can still get that cup of joe.

THE EAGLE’S NEST (640 Broad St.): This bar, located atop one of the tallest buildings in town, remains so super-secret that it could double as a Bond villain’s lair. It’s not the biggest bar in town, but get there early enough to snag one of the coveted window seats so you can see all the way down Broad.

And don’t miss …
• The Playground (978 Broad St.)
• Firehouse (1145 Broad St.)
• The Loft (927 Broad St.)
• Club Rehab (913 Broad St.)
• Wheels Corner Pub (879 Broad St.)
• 1102 Bar and Grill (1102 Broad St.)

 

FOOD

FARMHAUS BURGER (1204 Broad St.): While still steeped in Southern barbecue lore, Augusta is also something of a burger town. The newest contender takes a gourmet approach, with a long list of exotic options and, for those who can’t decide between a drink and dessert, a nice line of booze-infused shakes.

SPORTS CENTER (594 Broad St.): Farmhaus is the new kid on the block, and the Sports Center is the grizzled vet. This beer bar is known for making burgers that are fat, juicy and, when paired with a beverage in a frosty goblet, wildly addictive.

WHISKEY BAR KITCHEN (1948 Broad St.): Weighted equally between classic American and nouveau Asian cuisine, the common thread at Whiskey Bar is good food, well-cooked and rib-sticking. There is also some fine whiskey behind the bar, because anything else would be false advertising.

LUIGI’S (590 Broad St.): This family-owned Italian restaurant looks, feels and, most importantly, tastes exactly like an eatery open since 1949 should. This is as old school as Augusta cuisine gets and a stop every guest should make at least once.

THE BOAR’S HEAD PUBLIC HOUSE (1135 Broad St.): Classic pub cuisine presented in an atmosphere that clearly takes its cues from Old Blighty, the Boar’s Head is as close to the authentic English experience as you are likely to find without a passport. Check out the Scotch eggs. Incredible.

And don’t miss …
• Nacho Mama’s (976 Broad St.)
• Knuckle Sandwiches (1149 Broad St.)
• The Sunshine Bakery (1209 Broad St.)
• Blue Sky Kitchen (990 Broad St.)
• Frog Hollow Tavern (1282 Broad St.)
• Eros Bistro (1002 Broad St.)

RETAIL

ART ON BROAD (1028 Broad St.): A gallery refreshingly free of pretension, Art on Broad represents very fine artists without feeling exclusive or exclusionary. Part of the appeal is the haphazard approach to display, but really it’s the fine folks always ready to welcome a new face that make it engaging.

VINTAGE OOOLLEE (1121 Broad St.): The first stop for anyone looking for a jacket in just the right shade of green, Ooollee’s combination costume and vintage fashion emporium has something for just about any occasion, be it fairly formal or clown costume appropriate.

MARKETPLACE ANTIQUES (1208 Broad St.): Fans of American Pickers need to check this place out. The Marketplace vibe is part rummage sale and part museum, and each crowded nook and cranny holds interesting items. Looking for fine American furniture? This is your place. Looking for a clock-bellied Buddha? This is probably the spot for that, too.

THE BOOK TAVERN (930 Broad St.): More than merely a repository for weathered paperbacks, this emporium for previously loved literature features a fine selection of rare books, traded-in best sellers and yes, the odd dog-eared thriller. It’s also the kind of bookstore that encourages customers to slow down, browse and, yes, read.

PSYCHOTRONIC (859½ Broad St.): Recently relocated from the Virginia shore – and New York City before that – this quirky retailer features vintage movie posters, comic books, pulp paperbacks and a serious stack of vintage wax. And while it might be the record trade that pays the bills, it’s the pluralist’s approach to pop culture that keeps everyone coming back.

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.)


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