Donors Exceed Goal To Help Save Beloved Manuel’s Tavern In Less Than A Day

Manuel’s Tavern, which has been an Atlanta institution and treasured meet-up spot for over 64 years, is in danger of closing its doors permanently. Atlanta residents raised over $75,000 in less than 24 hours to make sure that doesn’t happen.

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On Wednesday, when news broke that the much-loved Atlanta bar and meetup spot Manuel’s Tavern was in danger of closing its doors due to the pandemic, Atlanta residents said “not so fast.”

A GoFundMe, set up by Manuel’s regular Angelo Fuster, exceeded its $75,000 goal on Thursday after being active for less than 24 hours.

More than 1,000 people have donated thus far and commenting things like, “That bar is sacred ground. Hang in there, Manny’s,” and, “I plan to celebrate election night 2022 at Manuel’s.”

According to the Saporta Report, the tavern, which has been an Atlanta institution and meet-up spot for everyone from blue-collar workers and policeman to politicians and the press for over 64 years, has seen business drop an average of 62% and is losing $25,000 a month despite pivoting their business model to take-away options.

The report went on to say that Manuel’s has been able to keep its doors open in part due to funds received from the Paycheck Protect Program, but that the aid was running out.

Angelo Fuster, left, and Kendric Smith, right, at Manuel’s Tavern in July 2019. Fuster, a regular at Manuel’s, created a GoFundMe to benefit the tavern after news broke that it was in danger of closing permanently. (Andrea Smith/Associated Press)

The GoFundMe’s $75,000 goal covers the cost of Manuel’s payroll, insurance and liquor license for the next few months.

Manuel’s posted on Facebook on Thursday that the tavern was in serious financial trouble. The post explained that going public with the situation was not easy, but, in the end, they felt that staff and patrons deserved to know the truth.

Fuster said via the GoFundMe page, “An Atlanta without Manuel’s Tavern is a loss to the heart of our city and personally to the thousands who have come through its doors for over 64 years. We must keep those doors open.”