The 60-year-old Atlanta drinking and dining institution, Manuel’s Tavern closed for extensive renovations some seven months ago. But on Friday night, regulars gathered around the bar again for a friends and family reopening party. And tonight at 6 p.m., Manuel’s will be open to the public for the first time since Dec. 27, 2015.
Manuel’s dates back to 1956, when the late Manuel Maloof bought Harry’s Delicatessen and turned it into his vision of an old world tavern.
Manuel’s heir and owner, Brian Maloof, who has been preserving his father’s legacy and overseeing the renovations, was there on Friday to greet everyone. So was Bobby Agee, who has been behind the bar for 40 years.
Among the regulars, politicos Angelo Fuster and Tom Houck examined some of the memorabilia that had been returned to the walls, including a recent photo of president Obama playing darts at the bar.
Agee, Fuster, Houck and other regulars noted some of the changes, including the exposed ceiling in the main dining room, shiny new bathrooms, and a new draft beer system behind the bar. But, overall, everyone agreed that the Manuel’s they knew and loved was back, maybe even better.
“I’ve been consistently hearing from regulars that it looks and feels the same,” Maloof said. “I kept saying when we started, that’s how I would know if I did my job right.”
Still, there’s more memorabilia to be returned, along with the pinball machines and other games. And for the first days of the reopening, hours will be shorter, and the menu may be limited to core items, including wings, nachos, hot dogs, burgers, fries and onion rings.
602 N Highland Ave. N.E., Atlanta. 404-525-3447, www.manuelstavern.com.
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