Athens in the ’80s was a prolific time, known for the creation of legendary stars such as Herschel Walker, R.E.M. and for famous landmarks like The Grill. Toward the end of the era, another landmark was born — The Globe.
The restaurant was founded by Randy Camp — who’s still the majority shareholder — in 1989. Camp and his wife, who were librarians at the time of its founding, decided they needed more income to raise two boys. Camp was inspired to open up a pub downtown because he’d never seen a bar that patrons could bring their children into. Many of the bars downtown were just “a beer hall for kids to get drunk in,” Camp said.
At first glance, he had quite the project on his hands. When The Globe moved into its current North Lumpkin Street location, the walls were overlaid with wallpaper and the floor was covered with soaking wet, red shag carpet. Fortunately, the community was willing to help.
“I thought I was going to be by myself,” Camp said. “But people from the neighborhood — students and even strangers — just started coming in and helping me build it. It was an amazing community effort, right from the beginning.”
Camp built a clean, open space decorated with a blackboard listing menu items, a large clock his father gave him, an American flag and a portrait of George Washington hoping to create a welcoming atmosphere. When he built The Globe, Camp envisioned a well-lit place where music wasn’t drowning out conversation. He was also inspired by a U-shaped bar in Barcelona, Spain.
The comfortable and conversational atmosphere appeals to many residents, graduate students and University of Georgia faculty who’ve since become regulars, like Mayor Kelly Girtz.
Girtz has frequented the pub since he moved to Athens about 24 years ago. He’s made many great memories, whether it be over his favorite dish — the black bean burger and fries — or at an event The Globe hosted.
“There’s this distinct memory of hanging out there with my wife and some friends of ours, including Commissioner Mike Hamby who was in a Chewbacca outfit on Halloween,” Girtz said.
Although many Athens institutions are friendly, Girtz believes The Globe exemplifies that spirit, and the successful places that followed in its wake have learned from its model.
Allison Wright, county commissioner, has been a patron of the pub since it opened. When Wright moved to Athens, she was fresh out of graduate school and was looking for places for people in her age bracket to hang out.
Wright and a friend became regulars in the early days when they were single, but they continued to go as they got married and started families. The group still uses The Globe as their “headquarters” to meet up before deciding what they want to do with the rest of their night.
A long table that seats about 12 people, the couch and the rocking chairs outside are Wright’s favorite places to sit because people will oftentimes join her group. Wright likes that she can go alone because she always ends up running into someone she knows.
Brent Hedrick, general manager from 2006-2012, said The Globe is meaningful to those who frequent it. When he was manager, couples constantly asked him if they could buy tables from the pub because it was where they met. Hedrick couldn’t sell The Globe’s furniture, but the sentiment was nice, he said.
“I think for a lot of people it’s such a personal place, it feels like home,” Hedrick said. “So many people schedule their own life events to be held upstairs there.”
The opportunity to work there was a real pleasure and it’s such a happy place, Hedrick said. In honor of the past 30 years, there will be a three-day celebration with wine tasting on Friday, Sept. 27, band performances on Saturday, Sept. 28 and its usual, Athens Irish Session band on Sunday, Sept. 29.
Norman Scholz, the general manager, is excited to see patrons return for the anniversary.
“[The Globe is] very much a traditional pub and it’s a place you can be with the community,” Scholz said.