Omnivore - Manuel's is 50 farkin' years old

It's been years since I visited Manuel's Tavern (602 N. Highland Ave., 404-525-3447). The bar was named after the original owner, Manuel Maloof, who died in 2004. Maloof was active in politics, eventually becoming CEO of DeKalb County.

The huge, rambling bar has long been a hangout for media folks and politicians. In fact, the bar is kicking off its 50th anniversary celebration at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 1, with a special media and politics night. Other events are planned throughout the week, leading up to the actual anniversary date of Aug. 6. So it's a good time to pay a visit if you haven't been to Manuel's in a while. Hell, with so many media and political people invited on Aug. 1, it might be more fun than a Jerry Springer show at a reunion of Ted Haggard's family.

I visited last Saturday night to hear Drew Curtis (above, at right with red, demonic eye) speak. He operates the website fark.com and he was at Manuel's to sign his new book, It's Not News, It's Fark: How Mass Media Tries to Pass Off Crap as News. The book, like the site, examines inane patterns that have developed in media reporting because of the need to fill a 24/7 news hole. Readers submit stories, many of which are only reported because of the weirdness factor, to the site with usually comical headlines. There's also a reader's forum that features perhaps the Internet's greatest concentration of sarcasm, a lot of it appearing as Photoshopped pictures.

My partner, Wayne, is a Fark fan, so there was no way he wasn't going to the event, which attracted more people than does the usual bookstore event. (A Capella Books in Little Five Points sponsored Curtis.) We decided to eat while we were there. Manuel's has a full menu but we stuck to the burgers — a veggie one for Wayne and a, um, patty melt (above left) for me. I don't even remember the last time I saw the term "patty melt," but hey, it wasn't bad. The fries were a bit limp, but I was feeling kinda limp and nostalgic myself at this bar where I had several job interviews, including the one that ended up making me editor of Creative Loafing 20 years ago.

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