Taste – Spring 2021
EAT & SIP
By Griffin Nelson | Photos By Evermore Photo Co.
There’s nothing more integral to a community than the local sports bar. Even for those who don’t drink there is always need of a spot to gather and celebrate and spend time with friends. Athens’ newest watering hole is right in the heart of the Five Points neighborhood, serving both those nearby and plenty of visitors from around the Athens area.
The Local 706 is the perfect name for a spot that has so quickly engrained itself into the hearts and lives of the community it serves. The brain child of owner Bill Jesel, it offers both high quality pub fare and drinks for every taste. He was particularly careful to design the menu around quality and local ingredients. “If we’re going to call ourselves local we’re kind of bound by law to source local,” jokes Jesel. To this point he works with local farms and suppliers to get top tier ingredients like Wagu beef for the burgers and buns from Luna Bread Co. Arguably the best item on the menu - and Jesel’s favorite - is the Local (classic) Burger. After all, if you’re using the finest ingredients a classic pub staple will stand above the rest. Of course, if you’re wanting something extra you can find all sorts of spins on the traditional burger, like the Southern with fried green tomatoes, bacon, pimento cheese and avocado.
If you’re craving something a little lighter there’s always the list of amazing salads to choose from. The Athena is a Mediterranean-style salad with all sorts of locally sourced fresh greens and veggies, kalamata olives, and feta cheese and a house made dressing. If you’re looking to add some protein you can top any of the salads with chargrilled salmon or mouthwatering herb-butter seared chicken. The Local take on a margarita pizza is an elevated Margarita flatbread with the perfect balance of tomatoes, garlic, basil and a rich balsamic glaze. The menu goes on to include wings, Cajun boiled peanuts, fried mushrooms, Philly-style cheese steak sandwiches, gooey grilled cheese, and on and on. From quick bites to hearty meals there is something for everyone. Whether you’re driving your car from across town or your golf cart from around the corner, The Local 706 is serving its community both in Five Points and beyond.
Of course it is a sports bar at its core so not only does it have juicy burgers, fresh salads and everything in between, but there’s a full bar with wine and beer and both classic and craft cocktails. There are plenty of TVs to watch “the game”, from the Falcons to the Bulldogs. The large bar and socially-distanced tables make it easy to get together with a few friends and have a feeling of normalcy during this year. Share a round of local beer from a brewery like Creature Comforts or Akademia, classic and easy beers like Yuengling or Budweiser, or try something new like Finnish Long Drink. This latter option has actually become so popular at The Local that it’s made Athens one of the top selling cities in the state and one of the top states in the country. Though new to the US, it was historically concocted in Finland in the 1950’s when the Olympics were hosted in Helsinki. Long Drink is a canned and perfectly balanced combination of seltzer and gin that makes for easy drinking any time of the year. If you prefer your cocktails mixed by one of the talented bartenders, try an original like the GA Peach Mule.
The best part about a sports bar is having a place to get together with friends where there’s something for everyone whether they’re starving or just want a bite, whether they prefer a glass of whiskey or a light beer. Everyone can agree on a place to be together when there’s something for everyone and The Local 706 has made sure to check all of the boxes making it the newest place to responsibly gather with friends this season.
Figment Fermentation has expanded! The People’s Pantry at Figment not only offers their own original kombucha but the shop at 1085 Baxter Street now has a selection of other fermented goods like kimchi, hot sauce and sauerkraut. They even have small-batch, beautiful pottery from other local artisans. You can find fresh micro greens, along with pantry staples like cocktail mixers, cheese straws and pepper jelly pecans. The People’s Pantry also carries a selection of handmade cutting boards. Tour the shop Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. They also offer curbside pickup.