Tag Archives: poncey-highland

Relax, Atlanta: Manuel’s Tavern Isn’t Going Anywhere

In the video, spokesman Angelo Fuster clears up the confusion about Manuel’s. 

Manuel's Tavern, Atlanta, bar, institution

Manuel’s Tavern on the corner of North and Highland is an institution. People ask me where I live, and I say, “Near Manuel’s,” and they say, “Oh, yeah, I love that place.”

Facebook and Twitter were all abuzz this morning over news about beloved Manuel’s Tavern being closed to make room for a new development on the corner of Highland and North avenues.

I was confused by the articles (from Creative Loafing, the Business Chronicle and the AJC) as well as the response from people on social media. I saw responses slamming the “news” as just one more example of how we don’t value anything here in Atlanta, how we toss aside our institutions for something new and shiny.

Those reactions didn’t jibe with how I took it, as a reasonable approach to improving and preserving an old spot that’s on a prime corner of real estate — especially after reading owner Brian Maloof‘s Facebook statement.

So I walked the two blocks down to Manuel’s for chili and a grilled cheese, and to get it clear for myself.

“This building is going to be here. This place is going to be here just as you see it now,” spokesman and longtime Maloof family friend Angelo Fuster told me. “This bar is gonna be here. These booths are gonna be here. Those walls are gonna be here.”

Seems this is just another example of people reacting on social media to headlines, assuming the worst, and popping off emotional responses. (Scroll down this Twitter feed to see some examples. There were plenty more on Facebook — “sad,” “end of an era,” etc…)

Manuel's Tavern, Atlanta, bar, institution

Where everybody knows your name…

The business remains with Maloof, son of the late founder Manuel Maloof, Fuster said. The property was sold, from Manuel’s Properties to Green Street Properties. The plan allows for a four-story development on the 1.6 acres but doesn’t mandate one, Fuster said. The new buildings will go where the large parking lots are now.

In his statement, Maloof said,

The land sale is part of a partnership deal with Green Street Properties to renovate our building on North Ave. and North Highland Ave., refurbish the tavern and also develop a neighborhood-scale, mixed-use development on the immediately surrounding property.

Under the agreement, I will continue to be the sole owner of Manuel’s, Green Street will become our landlord, and the tavern will have a long-term lease at its present site.

The sale will allow much-needed structural updates to the building, which is about 100 years old and has been home to Manuel’s since 1956. The bar will be closed during renovations for about three months next year.

RELATED: Photos of North Avenue’s icons, lifestyles

RELATED: Marketing lessons from the King of Pops

RELATED: A photo tour of Ponce City Market

Where to Catch Great, Old Movies on the Big Screen around Atlanta

denver, atlanta, ogden theater, revival house, movies, old movies, classics, lawrence of arabia, the searchers, bette davis, jay croft, kevin dandy, gateway high school, 1970s

Down on Colfax — Music now, great movies back in the day

I used to love seeing old movies on the big screen of Denver’s Ogden Theatre, downtown on Colfax.

I live in Atlanta now, and The Ogden is a concert venue. But back in the pre-VHS era, you could see a different classic double-feature every night. Maybe two with the same star, theme or director.

Other cities had theaters like The Ogden. And when I went to college, the film society did its part.

It’s just not the same watching something like “Lawrence of Arabia” at home, no matter how big your plasma screen. And there was something social, too, in joining an audience of highly engaged fans that you can’t get with family or friends alone.

The Searchers, John Wayne, John Ford, Atlanta, Landmark Midtown, old movies, classic movies, revivals, where to see old movies on big screen, denver, ogden theatre

No. 12 on ew.com’s list

On Tuesday night, I got to experience a little of the old magic at the Landmark Midtown Art Cinema in Atlanta, which screened “The Searchers” as the opening of its Tuesday series of Westerns. (Next week: “Once Upon a Time in the West.”)

We recently had the chance to see “The Godfather” at Phipps and “King Kong” at The Fox. “Annie Hall” is getting a little rollout this year in some cities, but not Atlanta yet. And, hey, Georgia State, what’s happened to Cinefest? I saw “Mean Streets” there a decade ago; the latest “Captain America” will be just fine On Demand, thanks.

Here is a collection of titles, dates and locations for other one-off showings of older movies coming up around metro Atlanta. (Read about my summer catching up on ew.com’s Top 100 Greatest Movies of All Time. And why you must see the Roger Ebert documentary.)

Share memories of your own Ogden-like experiences. And let us know of other classics coming soon. Later, I will try to interview some of the folks behind the effort to bring us these opportunities.

But I wanted to get this out right away because “Blue Velvet” is at The Plaza on Thursday.


Tue, Jul 15: Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), starring Henry Fonda.

Tue, Jul 22: George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.

Tue, Jul 29: Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch (1969), starring William Holden.

Tue, Aug 5: Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven (1992), starring Eastwood, Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman.

Tue, Sep 16: This Is Spinal Tap (1984), directed by Rob Reiner.

Tue, Sep 23: Ran (1985), directed by Akira Kurosawa. 35mm print!

Tue, Sep 30: Jules and Jim (1962), directed by François Truffaut.

Tue, Oct 7: M (1931), directed by Fritz Lang.

Tue, Oct 14: Toyko Story (1953), directed by Yasujirô Ozu.

Tue, Oct 21: Lord of the Flies (1963), directed by Peter Brook.

Tue, Oct 28: Elevator to the Gallows (1958), directed by Louis Malle. 35mm print!

Tue, Nov 4: I Vitelloni (1953), directed by Federico Fellini. 35mm print!

Tue, Nov 11: Contempt (1963), directed by Jean-Luc Godard.



Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (50th Anniversary) Thursday, July 24 at 7:30 PM
 Movie Tours at 5 PM and 5:10PM

Gone With The Wind (75th Anniversary) 
Sunday, July 27 at 2 PM

The Philadelphia Story
 Thursday, July 31 at 7:30 PM 
Movie Tours at 5 PM and 5:10 PM


Saturday Morning Cartoons
 Saturday, August 2 at 10 AM

Mamma Mia!
 Saturday, August 2 at 7:30 PM
Movie Tours at 5 PM and 5:10 PM

Young Frankenstein (40th Anniversary) Blazing Saddles (40th Anniversary) 
Sunday, August 3 at 2 PM

Double Indemnity (70th Anniversary)
 Thursday, August 14 at 7:30 PM
 Movie Tours at 5 PM and 5:10 PM

Mary Poppins Sing-A-Long (50th Anniversary)
 Sunday, August 17 at 2 PM
 Movie Tours at 11:30 AM and 11:40 AM

The Women (75th Anniversary)
 Thursday, August 21 at 7:30 PM 
Movie Tours at 5 PM and 5:10PM


Thursday, July 10, Blue Velvet (R)
 Thu: 7:30 PM

Alien (1979) (R) 
Fri: 9:30 PM
Sat – Tue: 7:20 PM
Wed: 6:50 PM
Thu: 9:30 PM

Star Wars July 18

2001 July 25

Follow these and other theaters on social media to stay on top of things. Without a central spot like The Ogden down on Ole Colfax, it’s hard to keep track of opportunities that pop up.


RELATED: Why you must see ‘Life Itself,’ the documentary about Roger Ebert

RELATED: Katniss, ‘The Walking Dead’ drive movie, TV production in Georgia

RELATED: Catching up on the classics over summer

6 Most Popular Blog Posts: What to Learn from the Numbers

Sandi Parker (center), Manager, Creative & Marketing for Jamestown Properties, leads guests through the tour.

This is where the main food court will be inside Ponce City Market

It’s always fun to look at readership numbers for items posted online. It’s also important, since we can consider what “works” and what doesn’t when creating more content and telling more stories.

“If you don’t know what your most popular content is, then how are you going to create more of it?” asks blogging expert Jeff Bullas.

And WordPress, the platform on which I publish this blog, provides helpful stats that show how many page views each piece of content gets.

I’ve been blogging here for six months, so it seems like a good time to look for myself. I won’t bore you with the details, but here are my top six posts.

1. Inside Look: Preview Pictures from Ponce City Market. It’s a big, local story with lots of interest among Atlantans — and I got to take lots of photos when I went on a tour of the mixed-use development project. I posted 13, and each time someone clicked on an individual photo to enlarge it, that added another page view to the tally.

2. Listen Up! An Ex-Reporter Gives 12 Easy Ways to Get More Information from Anyone. I spent very little time on this one. It was just me blabbing, with a silly meme and no photos. Its viral success and the amount of comments I received shocked me, so I tried a sequel — which bombed.

Doug Brooks, Rusty Wolf, Sophie, three kids, gay, gay dads, gay parents, gay family, families, mouths of babes, children of gay, well adjusted, atlanta, georgia

Doug Brooks, left, and Rusty Wolf with their children

3. Short and (Very) Sweet. This is one of the first items I posted and it still gets page views from web searches about gay parents. I couldn’t be happier about that. Go ahead and click here to see what little Sophie has to say when asked a no-nonsense question.

4. A Gay Husband in Georgia Gets a Military ID Card. Attorney and veteran Jeff Cleghorn helped overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. So when I saw his brief Facebook post about the joy he and his husband experienced recently, I had to get more information to share here.

5. What’s His Story: The Run Commuter Gets to Work on Foot. When Atlantan Josh Woiderski started running to work a few years ago, he had no idea where it would take him. His blog, theruncommuter.com, caught on in other cities and other countries, and brought him national media attention and even an income stream. Organic genius.

Nick and Steven Carse of The King of Pops

Nick and Steven Carse of The King of Pops

6. 9 Business & Marketing Tips from Atlanta’s King of Pops. Another popular local story with high interest and plenty of photo opps. Hmm… I’m noticing some themes here…

And what’s not working for me? Wordless Wednesdays, the photo-only feature a blogging friend suggested I try. I enjoy it, but maybe I can save it for when I have something special, huh?

Let me know what you think I should take from this. And if you’re a blogger or web producer and you don’t already know your most popular pieces, find out now and see what you can learn about your  audience. The power of the web is ours only if we use it.

Wordless Wednesday 5

Wordless Wednesday 5

wordless wednesday, wordlesswednesday, jordan pokryfki, pool, john green, the fault in our stars, girl reading book in pool, lazy summer day, storycroft

MeetingThe story behind last week’s Wordless Wednesday photo: I walked around the corner from North Avenue onto Highland Avenue and saw a young man stop to take photos of an elderly man passing him. I started snapping as I approached, and the young guy posed next to the older one. Curious, I asked the photographer why he wanted a picture of the stranger. “Because we’re both wearing purple,” he said.

Next week: The story of the girl in the pool.

Modern Masculinity at the Barber Shop around the Corner


The Shave, barbershop, atlanta, poncey-highland, inman park, midtown, virginia-highland, jackson butler, new masculinity, barber, shop, men's haircuts, shaves, beards, hipster, gay, in town, style

Hipster lumberjack-barber-model?

The Shave, barbershop, atlanta, poncey-highland, inman park, midtown, virginia-highland, jackson butler, new masculinity, barber, shop, men's haircuts, shaves, beards, hipster, gay, in town, style

The neon mustache above The Shave’s door.

The neon mustache caught my eye.

The simple design burns above the door at The Shave Barbershop, one of the newest additions to my Poncey-Highland neighborhood.

What I found inside intrigued me further: an authentic barber shop, handsome and hip with hardwood floors, a pool table and Michael Jackson and Franz Ferdinand in the audio mix. Hunting trophies and old-school photos of bearded men on the walls. No appointments taken.

Does it sound like too much? I think it might now that I’ve written all of that.

The Shave Barbershop, Atlanta, Poncey-Highland, barber, shop, men's hairstyles, hep, hip, cool, hipsters, in town

Me after: Suddenly I’m Adam Levine. (Ha!)

The Shave Barbershop, Atlanta, Poncey-Highland, barber, shop, men's hairstyles, hep, hip, cool, hipsters, in town

Me before: not a total disaster.

But it’s not.

I also got a snazzy haircut, reasonably priced, and a great talk with my barber, Michael Sponsel. (Check out this amazing transition he shared on Instagram.) The barbers use old-school tools and modern techniques for contemporary styles. Beard trims. Shaves.

What’s His Story?

And I met owner Jackson Butler, who told me the tale of his business. A Gwinnett native who spent a decade in Los Angeles, Butler came home recently to visit the folks. Needing a haircut, he went in search of a barber shop like he’d seen in L.A. — not a chain and not your grandfather’s barbershop.

The Shave, barbershop, atlanta, poncey-highland, inman park, midtown, virginia-highland, jackson butler, new masculinity, barber, shop, men's haircuts, shaves, beards, hipster, gay, in town, style

Jackson Butler and his dad put in the wood floors. I also dig the back wall — and the pool tables and hunting trophies are great conversation pieces.

The Shave Barbershop, atlanta, poncey-highland, barber, shop, men's hairstyles, hep, hip, cool, hipsters, in town

Barbers Michael Sponsel and Mo Gonzalez

Long story short, he opened The Shave late last year, after laboring side by side with his father for weeks, refreshing their bond with a whole wave of new memories and stories. The shop is on Highland Avenue near North Avenue, the corner that’s home to Manuel’s Tavern, Videodrome, the King of Pops’ original cart — and lots of bearded dudes with trendy haircuts.

It’s a specific neighborhood, close to Inman Park, Virginia-Highland and Midtown — and The Shave reflects all of that as skillfully as it does the new masculinity inside. You’ll see hipsters, sure, but also a mix of ethnicities, ages, orientations… It’s hard to imagine anyone feeling uncomfortable.

In fact, I couldn’t help but imagine my own father there. It’s a lifelong association, since my career Army dad always took me to the base barbershop in the PX when I was a kid. Some things linger, you know — that jar of blue disinfectant. The hum of the clippers. The nothing-feminine-here aesthetic.

Because it’s not a salon, you know?

I like the spot, I like the dudes, I like the cut.

I like the story and the father-son connection.

Check it out: The Shave Barbershop, 630 N. Highland Ave., N.E. 404-565-0730. theshavebarber.com. And on Facebook.

RELATED: Success Tips from the King of Pops

RELATED: Ex-reporter Now Serves as Atlanta Mayor’s Spokesman

RELATED: A photo tour of Ponce City Market

Fun, Sun and Keeping It Real: 9 Business & Marketing Tips from Atlanta’s King of Pops — PLUS: PICS

King of Pops, Atlanta, Inman Park, Steven Carse, Nick Carse, popsicles, entrepreneur, brothers, laid off, lost job started own business, followed dream

Steven Carse

Atlanta’s King of Pops just turned 4, its origin tale almost as familiar around town as it is irresistible. But there’s more to the company’s story since the now-fabled beginning. Here’s a list of 9 things you probably don’t know about or can learn from The King, aka Steven Carse, the laid-off corporate worker who started selling organic, homemade popsicles in fun flavors (chocolate sea salt, Arnold Palmer, mango habanero, apple ginger…) on a street corner in 2010. Since then, brother Nick left his career as an attorney to join the enterprise, and it has become a case study in successful small-business marketing: strong emotional connections; pitch-perfect branding; resonant storytelling; savvy use of social media; and more.

And who doesn’t love a popsicle?

Since the origin story has been told so often, and is available on the company website, let’s start with some new items.

Berry-growing will be a focus of the new farm near Douglasville.

Berry-growing will be a focus of the new farm near Douglasville.

  1. Farming Future. The King’s popsicles are made with fresh fruit, herbs, honey and other essentials he soon will grow at a 65-acre farm near Douglasville. Carse plans to use the farm for composting, tours/awareness of farming, and eventually start other food-related businesses.
  2. No ‘Shark Tank.’ Carse isn’t looking to sell the business. But every time it’s featured in national media, he gets calls from folks all over who want to open their own King of Pops stand.
  3. Growth in the Numbers. In his first year on the corner of Highland and North avenues, Carse estimates he sold 50,000 popsicles, for $2.50 each. The exotic flavors and organic cane sugar/honey/agave sweeteners, along with his low-key pitch, were a hit. This year, he expects to sell 600,000.
  4. Value Your Employees. “We attract and hire interesting people,” Carse says. “We get a lot of applicants, people who are musicians or artists or students. Initially, it just worked out that way, but now we like it and look for it.” The company has a dozen full-time employees, plus 30 part-time “slingers” who sell at parks, corners and festivals, based out of a 3,700-square-foot production facility in trendy Inman Park.
  5. Stay Focused. They deliver weekly to 50 or 60 locations around the Southeast and plan to keep the regional focus. Most of the retail locations, which include Whole Foods, are around Atlanta.
  6. Show Some Emotion. Popsicles appeal to a sweet place in our collective consciousness, memories of childhood, summer fun… and the business model focuses on that by trying to be in what Carse calls “the right places.” That could be a church festival one week and gay Pride the next. “From a very abstract perspective, it’s wherever people want to be happy, where they are going in order to be happy and have fun.”
  7. What’s Your Story? “We make a very good product, and the product is important,”Carse says. “But more important is our creation story and people’s idea of who we are. I don’t know how we cultivate that more or how we created it to begin with, except by being authentic and trying to be very honest about everything. That seems very simple, but I don’t think people are actually used to that from businesses. They’re used to getting a pitch. I don’t feel like we have a pitch. We’re just some guys trying to do a good thing. We would never have a meeting and say, ‘All right, what are we going to do to be more authentic?’ But I’ll say to five random people, ‘Go do something nice that’s pop-related while you’re on the clock.’ ”

    Nick and Steven Carse

    Nick and Steven Carse

  8. Make Connections. “People were really able to connect with us initially, and after that it was momentum. Atlanta is on an upswing with things like the Beltline and the food scene, and we are a part of that. People are proud of the city, and they talk about how much they love it. I still work at the old corner once or twice a week – and I like that vibe, the 10-second interaction with people I don’t really know but I’m familiar with, kids I’ve seen grow up … I love that.”
  9. Keep It Real Online. The King of Pops is ideal for social media. Nick Carse says the business makes the most of it by being useful, telling followers where vendors are every day and showing what is available. “Anybody can have social media,” he says, “but it’s gotta be smart.” So linked is the company’s identity with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest, that he says the King has never spent a dime on advertising.

RELATED: Honeysuckle Gelato, local ice creamery, coming to Ponce City Market

RELATED: A photo tour of Ponce City Market

RELATED: The King of Pops and more PHOTOS on North Avenue



Inside Look: Preview Pictures from Ponce City Market


I took a tour Thursday night of Ponce City Market, and I’m glad to say it’s going to be as exciting, beautiful and cool as I’d hoped. Amid the continuing construction, a Jamestown Properties spokeswoman illuminated the building’s history and future. The former City Hall East and Sears store goes back to the 1920s and includes more than 2 million square feet of office, retail and residential space. It borders the equally amazing Atlanta Beltline and is just a half-mile from my home. The project is charging the whole neighborhood, with lots of new apartments, road improvements and more. It should open sometime this year.

About 15 years ago, I went searching for something in the building, which was then used to house tons of ancient city records. It was dusty and dark and dank and… NOTHING like it’s going to be.

Can’t wait. Enjoy the pics. (Mouse over for caption. Click to enlarge.) And follow me on Twitter @JayCroft.

RELATED: Streets Alive Hits West End

RELATED: Photos from North Avenue

RELATED: Honeysuckle Gelato Coming to Ponce City Market



Everybody Wins in the Burger Wars

Richard Blais, Blais, Flip, Flip Burger Flip Burger Boutique, Atlanta, hamburger, chef, cheeseburger, top chef, celebrity chef, Shaun Doty, Yeah Burger, Manuel's Tavern, Highland Avenue, Krispy Kreme milkshake

Richard Blais has brought Flip Burger Boutique to Poncey-Highland.

I love a good cheeseburger. And I’m in the right neighborhood, with Manuel’s Tavern, George’s and Yeah! Burger (from Shaun Doty). Now comes celebrity chef Richard Blais (a “Top Chef” winner) with his third local Flip Burger spot, where his HD 1 hot dog emporium previously tried to bring the fabulous to the weiner. (Results: Eh… Sometimes a hot dog is just a hot dog.) I stopped in last night and totally greased down on the fried chicken burger, killer fries and signature Krispy Kreme milkshake, about which I have one word: miraculous.

Flip Burger Boutique, 644 N. Highland Ave., just off Ponce. Where San Francisco Coffee was until it moved two doors down.

Published Dec. 16, 2013


RELATED: Three great things about Atlanta

RELATED: King of Pops rules Atlanta

RELATED: Jeni’s Ice Cream opens in Atlanta, plans another location