Manuel’s Tavern overhaul part of planned mixed-use development

Manuel’s Tavern — the Poncey-Highland bar and decades-old haunt for politicos, reporters and regular in-towners — plans to close for extensive renovations that will coincide with construction of a large mixed-use development.

GALLERY: Big changes for Manuel's Tavern

A business controlled by the family of the late tavern founder Manuel Maloof will sell the building and surrounding land it controls to developer Green Street Properties for a future mixed-use project. The transaction is not final, but the property is under contract. Financial details were not immediately known.

“My father often expressed the wish that his beloved ‘store’ —as he always called the tavern—would last at least one hundred years,” tavern owner Brian Maloof said in a news release. “I am confident that our partnership with Green Street Properties will ensure that his wish will come to pass.”

Tavern owners plan to reopen a refurbished pub in the same building at North Highland and North avenues after addressing significant structural and mechanical issues in the structure, which is a mishmash of century-old buildings. In an interview Friday, Maloof said if all goes well, the building renovations will begin in early next year and the tavern will reopen before the company’s 60th anniversary in August 2016.

Manuel’s Tavern will remain open until the start of construction.

The exterior and interior look of the tavern will be preserved, the release said. New residential and retail development will be built on land that is currently used as restaurant parking. A redo of the tavern is expected in the project’s first phase of the project, which the release said is still in the conceptual stage.

Manuel’s Tavern, which bills itself as “Atlanta’s quintessential neighborhood bar,” is separate from the property business and is not part of the sale.

Manuel’s Tavern, opened nearly 60 years ago by its namesake and the DeKalb County political heavyweight, has long been favored watering hole not only for legions of faithful nearby residents, but for journalists, state and local politicians — most often Democrats. It’s a raucous place to be on any election night.

Read more about this story later today on our premium subscriber website,, or in Saturday’s print edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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