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After 67 years, Moe’s and Joe’s changes things up

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I’ve always had thing for historic bars, where you can have a drink and commune with the ghosts of another era.

Icons of old like Jean Lafite’s Blacksmith Shop in New Orleans, established in 1772,  and McSorley’s Old Ale in New York, established in 1854, are two I’ve visited many times over the years.

Here in Atlanta, Atkins Park, which opened as a deli in 1922, claims to be the city’s oldest continuously licensed tavern. Manuel Maloof bought Harry’s Delicatessen in 1956 and turned it into his eponymous bar, Manuel’s Tavern. And George’s Bar & Restaurant dates back to 1961, when George Najour started selling beer and sandwiches in the back of his George’s Delicatessen.

In Sunday’s AJC Living and Arts, I wrote about Moe’s & Joe’s Tavern, founded in 1947, when brothers Moe and Joe Krinsky turned the former Virginia-Highland Delicatessen into a drinking establishment.

In 67 years, not much had changed. But in the first months of 2014, Moe’s & Joe’s newest partner, Scott Drake, debuted some historic transformations, including a new bar area that doubles the size of the space, and a ban on smoking.

There’s also a full bar with liquor and cocktails, and an expanded beer menu, with the likes of Ballast Point Sculpin IPA on draft. And this week, just in time for sunny weather, Moe’s & Joe’s got to work on a patio make-over.

Of course, on Tuesdays you can still order a $3.25 pitcher of PBR, and the bar food menu has remained, with the Mojo Burger priced at $2.75, and the jumbo Buffalo wings (declared “Atlanta’s Best”) still among the favorites.

Have you been to Moe’s & Joe’s since the changes? What did you think?

What’s your favorite historic Atlanta bar?

— By Bob Townsend, AJC Food and More blog.

Mi

19 comments Add your comment

donkey200

April 2nd, 2014
5:23 pm

Those darn hooty-tooties that want to kick out the oldies who’ve been hanging someplace for years. With the ban on smoking M&J is no longer on my list of favs. There are plenty of fern bars out there for the “look at me” crowd. Just leave my old-timers alone!

Clive

April 2nd, 2014
5:37 pm

Bummer! I’ll miss all the bums.

Baltisraul....

April 2nd, 2014
9:06 pm

The “look at me crowd” has no idea that nobody is looking, donkey2000. But your point is well taken.

Michael Colford

April 2nd, 2014
9:38 pm

I did my stint at M&Js many years ago (at that time in my life), but your article makes me think of it, and want to pay a visit.

But honesty, John, when you ask “What is your favorite historic Atlanta bar?” it’s kind of a joke right? As, sadly, they’ve pretty much closed or torn most of them all down. Perhaps a more lively discussion would be “What WAS your favorite historic Atlanta bar?” Now that would garner some interested comments and memories. The only problem I have is, alas, I can remember the places; I just can’t remember the names.

ZBIRD

April 2nd, 2014
11:14 pm

No smoking? It’s about time! I’m there early and often now. Thanks!

Joey

April 3rd, 2014
1:58 am

Tried posting this in the Tantra restaurant sale entry. BUt it is not accepting comments. So I call them to use my purchased restaurant.com voucher and the new owner will NOT honor them. It’s not like it’s a free coupon. You actually have to pay to redeem that voucher even if it is discounted. It is money that was already paid to restaurant.com which had an agreement with them. When the new owner buys the restaurant, shouldn’t he honor everything that goes with it? Or he should change the name and format eimmediately on takeover.

Rupricht

April 3rd, 2014
6:23 am

Not to take anything away from Moe’s & Joe’s – Laseter’s Tavern in Vinings is still the best. Yes, it is smoky and yes, there are older regular patrons at the bar. Look around though and you will see every table taken up by business people and younger people just there to enjoy the food and atmosphere. I have been going there since the early ’90’s…(oops, should I reserve my seat at the bar?) I hope that it never changes.

Ned Ludd

April 3rd, 2014
7:38 am

What would Horace say?

asv

April 3rd, 2014
8:10 am

More yuppie changes, it’s a “look at me city” and the neighborhood attracts the worst of that crowd, time to move on…

Atlanta Mom

April 3rd, 2014
10:07 am

George’s now offers a full bar as well. They have a pretty tasty spicy bloody mary.

Ziza

April 3rd, 2014
10:08 am

I love a tavern. If you want to reference historical taverns in NYC, Fraunces Tavern would be the one in that it dates back to the Revolutionary War and is a great tavern. Here in Atlanta, I of course love Manuel’s and I do like George’s, but as stated above, alot of the great ones are gone.

Lizzy

April 3rd, 2014
10:23 am

Though not a tavern, and defnitely not old, but isn’t Johnny’s Hideaway just a little qualified? Haven’t been in many years. I think it deserves a small shout-out!

PTC DAWG

April 3rd, 2014
11:03 am

Boo hiss to the changes…

I nominate the Rusty Nail as old school. Buford Hwy…

Rupricht

April 3rd, 2014
12:15 pm

oops, fergot about The Rusty Nail. The one up Roswell Road est. in 1974 might have the best wings (other than Clay’s), Blue Cheese Burger and cold 16 Oz. PBR around town.

Edward

April 3rd, 2014
12:46 pm

Glad to see more and more establishments going smoke free. Way past due.

Kev

April 3rd, 2014
2:35 pm

Any bar/restaurant that has a no smoking policy is all right by me. I hate going home smelling like an ashtray.

Franks

April 3rd, 2014
11:27 pm

Go Go scene in the sixties… Pig Alley, The Domino, Kittens Corner, Club Peachtree…cool link
http://www.atlantatimemachine.com/gogo/1968.0226.zebra.htm

Circle R

April 4th, 2014
12:08 pm

I miss Aunt Charlie’s in Buckhead. Met my wife there!

Tobiaz Johansen

April 4th, 2014
2:33 pm

Ah don’t ta zmoke, but they do away all these thing. What nixt, poosy?