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To find out who's playing and what's on, pick up Flagpole, Athens's arts, entertainment, and events weekly, free at many shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs; or go online to www.athensmusic.net or www.rockathens.com for the latest band information. Another good barometer of what's happening is the UGA student newspaper, the Red and Black. Remember that this is a college town, so the nightlife scene is much hotter during the school year. Most of the music clubs and bars present nightly live bands September through June only, shrinking their offerings to just the weekends in the summer.

Make a pilgrimage to the famous 40 Watt Club, 285 W. Washington St. (tel. 706/549-7871; www.40watt.com), the little joint that launched the B-52s and R.E.M. Although you can still hear up-and-coming local bands, these days the 40 Watt is more geared toward national bands, such as Luscious Jackson or the Lemonheads. They also run a late-night disco several times a week, as does the Georgia Theatre, 215 Lumpkin St., at the corner of Clayton Street (tel. 706/549-9918; www.georgiatheatre.com). A former movie theater, it gives local college-rock bands (along with a smattering of blues and Southern rock) the chance to jam long into the night. Oh, and that skinny guy standing in the corner may just be Michael Stipe.

Our favorite bar in town by far, however, is the Globe, 199 N. Lumpkin St. at Clayton Street (tel. 706/353-4721; http://globe.lbu.com). In the mix are students, an occasional filmmaker, and a cross-cultural selection of anyone from hip latter-day rebels to necktie-toting salesmen. It's like an English pub, with the largest selection of exotic beers in Athens -- more than 150 brands. It also has a collection of 50 kinds of single-malt whiskeys. There's also wine, port, and sherry, served by the glass, and nine boutique bourbons. And that skinny guy reading alone just may be Michael Stipe.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.