Poncey-Highland staple Manuel's tavern, a favorite among the political and journalistic class, is temporarily shuttered as it receives a facelift and becomes the centerpiece of a new mixed-use project. Ever since news of the redevelopment first broke, fans and regulars have worried the watering hole would reemerge as a sterile shell of its former self.
'Projects have to be developed with a very fine-grained approach to create authentic places appropriate for those neighborhoods.'
Green Street Properties, the new owner of Manuel's, and the Maloof family, who will continue to operate the bar, have consistently tried to calm Atlantans' nerves, and now a new investor on board, Selig Enterprises is doing the same. Announcing the deal, CEO Steve Selig told the Atlanta Business Chronicle, "Institutions like Manuel's Tavern are what make up the fabric of this city." Green Street president Katharine Kelly echoed that sentiment: "Projects within the city's infill pockets have to be developed with a very fine-grained approach to create authentic places appropriate for those neighborhoods. This is a true micro-mixed-use project."
The biggest fear for anyone who has ever stepped foot inside Manuel's is the bar will trade in its dive-y ambiance and transform in to a trendy spot that aims to attract a younger clientele. Earlier this month, an Internet jokester with some Photoshop skills played on that fear and floated a fake rendering of a redeveloped "Manny's Tavern," which would be awful if it were to come to fruition. The Maloofs had to post a note on Facebook to pull everyone back from the ledge.
Among its other properties, Selig Enterprises also owns Midtown institution Smith's Olde Bar, which was rumored to be set for the chopping block until a new lease was worked out. The Smith's saga and the impending doom of ancient Poncey-Highland music venue The Masquarade, which will make way for another mixed-use development, are a couple of big reasons locals have a hard time believing in the Manuel's redevelopment.
When it's all said and done, plans call for Manuel's to lose about 2,000 square feet of interior space and add an outdoor patio. A six-story structure will be built in the parking lot next door. It will include parking, retail space, and apartments.