For more than eight months Poncey-Highland has been a little too dry, but that’s about to change. The extensive renovation project at Manuel’s Tavern is complete, and the local icon plans to start pouring again this Saturday, August 6. An employee tells Eater Atlanta Manuel’s hopes to open its doors “around 11” in the morning.
Update: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution now reports Manuel’s will officially open to the public Saturday night at 6 p.m.
Owner Brian Maloof had been targeting the August 6 deadline — it coincides with the bar’s 60th birthday — and he’s been tracking the renovation’s progress on Facebook. Maloof recently held a blessing as “a tribute to God, to Manuel and Robert Maloof, to my grandparents, to my entire family, to the employees, to our customers, and to the city that we call home.” The beer lines were up and running earlier this week. Now, regulars will once again be able to belly up to the bar that Maloof’s father Manuel first opened in 1956.
Manuel’s has long been a favorite among political types, particularly those who lean toward the Democratic Party. President Jimmy Carter launched his gubernatorial campaign there in 1970. More recently, President Barack Obama stopped by in March 2015 and enjoyed a round of darts.
Plans for the renovation were first revealed in February 2015, and Manuel’s temporarily shuttered the following December. The Maloof family sold the building to development firm Green Street Properties, which will surround it with a mixed-use development that includes a six-story building with retail and apartments. Manuel’s is losing the North Avenue-adjacent side room to a new retail space as well. That will eliminate about 2,000 square feet, but a new patio will replace some of the lost seating.
Locals have been uneasy, worried the project would erase Manuel’s historic charm. But from the beginning, Maloof has reassured his patrons that’s not the case. “Green Street fully appreciates Manuel's history and understands its great value to those of us who work here, to our neighborhood, to our customers, and to our family,” he previously said. “They want to bring Manuel's to a top condition, and do it in a way that makes sure we maintain our character, charm, grit, and that unique feel that only Manuel’s has.”
• All Manuel’s Tavern Coverage [EATL]