Manuel’s Tavern

“Manuel’s Tavern,” The #TUOR Project, Eric Solomon and Dave Hayward, 2021.

Site Narrative

We recommend you end the first route on The #TUOR Project at the iconic Manuel’s Tavern, self-described as Atlanta’s “quintessential neighborhood bar” on North Highland Avenue. Founded in 1956, Manuel’s Tavern has continuously hosted LGBTQIA+ events and performers for much of its existence. As Dave Hayward mentions on this stop, some of the most notable of these events were performances by the celebrated late drag queen Diamond Lil, who was known for her over-the-top outfits, hairdos, and music. Diamond Lil passed at the age of 80 in 2016. You can see an example of her performance at Manuel’s below. Manuel’s Tavern has also been a historic Atlanta stronghold for the Democratic Party, having been visited by countless Democratic politicians including Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Manuel’s Tavern was a frequent setting of “The Foibles of Signifyin’ Sam,” a comic/short story/fable series which regularly appeared in the underground newspaper The Great Speckled Bird.

The Unpacking Manuel’s Tavern project “preserves the organic archive of Atlanta’s political left that has been inscribed on the walls of this local restaurant and bar over the past half century.”


Manuel’s Tavern.

Unpacking Manuel’s Tavern.

Atlanta’s Diamond Lil Live at Manuel’s Tavern. Videotaped by Mark Denton (Swampzoid), February 13, 2016.

Many of the first meetings for The #TUOR Project took place at Manuel’s Tavern in December 2020 and January 2021. Pictured here is Touching Up Our Roots founder and coordinator Dave Hayward and The #TUOR Project Manager Eric Solomon. January 2021. Photograph courtesy Eric Solomon, 2021.


Manuel Maloof, founder of Manuel’s Tavern