For most people, visiting Augusta is about one thing: the Masters.
Augusta National is the Mecca of golf in this country, and rightfully so. But the city has a lot more to offer than just golf.
Augusta is the second largest city in Georgia but it has a quaint, small-town feel. During the 51 weeks of the year when the Masters is not taking place, it has a pretty laid-back vibe. I visited Augusta in March, before the Masters Madness, and that gave me an opportunity to explore the city and mingle with the locals.
Here are my favorite bar, restaurant and outdoor spaces.
984 Broad Street
Augusta, GA 30901
Located downtown on Broad Street, this is my kind of bar. It has a retro feel, with James Brown posters and memorabilia decorating the walls. It’s just grungy enough to be cool, but not so much that it’s a dive. Do you have that one bar in your neighborhood where every time you go there you seem to have a few too many and end up doing something you have to apologize for the next day? Soul Bar is probably that place for Augustans.
They have DJs spinning great music most nights, and every night has some kind of theme to it – such as “Disco Hell” and “Turf War,” and who doesn’t love a good 80s night? The one every second Friday of the month is Soul Bar’s standout.
Frog Hollow Tavern
1282 Broad Street
Augusta, GA 30901
Also on Broad Street, this restaurant is an absolute gem. It has a decent-sized bar area, with super-friendly bartenders, an excellent cocktail menu and a large selection of craft beers. The dining room is elegant without being pretentious, and has a warm, inviting feel to it.
The menu, from chef Sean A. Wight, is just tremendous. It features a substantial amount of local and regionally grown ingredients, and it took me forever to decide what I wanted because everything looked amazing. For example, some of the main dishes are Wild Caught Shrimp, Manchester Farms Grilled Boneless Quai, and Braised Berkshire Pork Shoulder.
To top it all off, the wine list has over 100 wines and focuses on wineries with sustainable, organic or biodynamic practices. In case you’re wondering about dessert, the menu looked awesome but our party was so stuffed from dinner we couldn’t eat another bite. Maybe next time!
The Savannah River flows right through downtown Augusta, and the Riverwalk is the perfect place to take it all in. At the entrance are plaques marking the water level of the major floods that plagued Augusta prior to the Clarks Hill Dam being built in 1954. There is a marina where you can rent a pontoon boat and take a cruise along the Savannah, as well as an amphitheater for performances. There are many events at Riverwalk throughout the year, including the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Fourth of July Fireworks and a Community Block Party.