Manuel’s a work in progress; not fast enough for regulars

By Maria Saporta

Work is progressing on the renovation of Atlanta’s beloved Manuel’s Tavern.

Angelo Fuster, who handles communications for Manuel’s, invited a group of faithful regulars to check out the construction work underway on renovating the tavern, a favorite hangout for politicos, journalists, citizen activists, bon vivantes, public safety officials as well as lost-and-found souls.

Every effort is being made for Manuel’s to be open in time to celebrate its 60th anniversary on Aug. 6, and Fuster said it is on schedule to reopen by that day.

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An exterior shot of Manuel’s (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Although the historic establishment will preserve much of the look and feel of the older Tavern, there will be differences.

The large room on the south end of the building has been reconfigured slightly so that the Eagle’s Nest will no longer be up the staircase to a second-floor. All is now on the same level.

The middle room with the well-worn bar and booths is almost identical, except the doorways are larger and the booth on the North Highland side of the building will no longer slope down as it used to.

The biggest change will be on the North Avenue side of the building. Two relatively large spaces are being set aside for yet-to-be named retail establishments. That will cut the lower gathering space in half removing the need for a second bar, and it totally eliminates the back room on the north end of the building.

No longer will there be a grade change from the bar area to that area where groups would meet and special events would take place. The pinball machines will return to the old location. Manuel’s will have a brand new kitchen and upgrading appliances, plumbing and utilities. The chickens laying fresh eggs will return to the roof after being looked after by owner Brian Maloof.

Some windows will be added, but Fuster said Maloof and the crews doing the renovation are taking great lengths to keep the familiar integrity of the establishment intact.

Since Manuel’s closed in late December, regulars have been like gypsies looking for a place to stay. The Albert in Inman Park has become the spot for the GIE (Government in Exile) crowd.

No matter what, Anna Foote said it best in her Facebook post: “Special tour of Manuel’s Tavern With Friends. Good progress. But not fast enough for me.”

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Group of regulars pose near the front door of Manuel’s before taking the tour (Photo by Maria Saporta)

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No question – alcohol will be served (Photo by Maria Saporta)

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Angelo Fuster, Kendrick Smith and Doug Blackmon talk about the changes (Photo by Maria Saporta)

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Front room at Manuel’s will remain largely the same (Photo by Maria Saporta)

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Rocks were removed from the front of the building where the new retail will be (Photo by Maria Saporta)

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Stones are being carefully put back on the exterior walls of Manuel’s to have it keep its historical integrity (Photo by Maria Saporta)

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The ceiling still has dollars stuck up high with gum – left over from a special bar trick (Photo by Maria Saporta)

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The former Eagle’s Nest will now be on one level (Photo by Maria Saporta)

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The scaffolding will be removed in the next several weeks – unveiling the renovated Manuel’s to Atlanta (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

3 replies
  1. Burroughston Broch says:

    GIE = Government In Exile?
    But they are all Democrats, and Democrats run Atlanta City, and Manuel’s is in Atlanta City. ????
    Oh! I get it – they are the wrong Democratic demographic.Report

    Reply

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