Atlanta loves to tear things down and look towards the future. But in Virginia Highland, several bars have survived multiple decades.
Warren Bruno, owner of Atkins Park Tavern since 1983, thought it would be fun to have a walking tour of five of the older establishments in the area Saturday May 23 from 1 to 6 p.m.
“A lot of times we see the kids coming in whose parents used to come in and sometimes, even grandparents,” said G.G. Najour, who runs George’s Bar & Restaurant and whose father started the bar in 1961.
For $10 in advance and $20 at the door, you get a T shirt, a mug and food and drink discounts that hearken back to the past. At Manuel’s Tavern (established 1947), you can get two chili hot dogs and tater tots for $3. George’s will have $1 Miller High Life drafts, $2 Sweetwater beers, $1 hot dogs and 60 cent fries. Atkins (which opened as a deli in 1922) is going to dare people to try a Tang and Bacardi mix.
Sandra Bruno, Warren’s wife, had to order the Tang off Amazon because she couldn’t find the old astronaut drink in local supermarkets. (We can only hope the Tang will be fresh, not 1969 vintage.)
The Atlanta Classics Bar Tour “is a chance to go back to what we used to be,” said Steve Pitts, assistant GM at Manuel’s. “It was a tougher neighborhood back in the day, more blue collar.”
“There was a bootlegger next door to me,” said Bruno, recalling when he arrived in 1983. “Bars in the 1960s would open at 8 in the morning and sell little lips of wine. The drunks would then lay out in the alley and drink.”
Half the entry monies will go to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. (Warren Bruno is a lymphoma survivor.)
More information at www.AtlantaClassicsBarTour.com.
Atlanta going to be an “Idol” audition site
“American Idol” will be coming to Atlanta later this year to audition singers for season nine of the veteran reality series. This will be the fifth time Fox has chosen Atlanta as one of its audition sites. Dates have not been set.
The first three seasons, “Idol” found a treasure trove of talent in Atlanta including Fantasia, Clay Aiken and Tamyra Gray. The show took a break for three years from the city but came back for season seven in 2007. Unfortunately, Atlanta that year did not generate much great talent for the producers.
Then this past season was the first time in “Idol” history that the show did not have a single finalist with a direct Atlanta connection. Has Atlanta run out of great vocalists for “Idol” to mine? We’ll find out soon.
The other audition cities will be Orlando, Denver, Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles.
Rashan Ali ousted from Hot 107.9
Popular DJ Rashan Ali was let go from Hot 107.9 Thursday after more than seven years at the station.
Coincidentally, it happened just a few hours before a wine and art fundraiser she held at the Loft at Castleberry Hill for Sporty Girls, a charity she started to encourage minority girls to get into sports such golf, tennis, swimming and soccer. (She raised $6,000 for two summer camps at Spelman College this summer for 40 girls.)
Hot 107.9, she said, didn’t renew her contract as a cost-cutting measure in tough economic times. Last year, the station dropped its local morning show, the “A” Team for the cheaper route of syndicated host Rickey Smiley. Since she was still under contract, she was moved to middays.
But Ali said, given her relatively high pay, she knew she was a goner when her contract ended May 31. The station, she added, didn’t even try to negotiate with her.
Ali, who is expecting her second daughter in September, said she’d like to focus on TV now, though she’s not counting out another radio gig. And she betrays no bitterness toward Hot. (Her former boss Tim Davies declined to say why she was released, per station policy.)
“I couldn’t have asked for a better starting ground for my career,” she said. “I was able to learn from Ryan Cameron [now afternoon host at V-103.] And I had a chance to lead a morning show. I’ve been able to learned how to get the best out of interviewees. That I picked up from Ryan.”
Saturday: Actress Joan Collins is 76. Comedian Drew Carey is 51. Singer Maxwell is 36. Singer Jewel is 35.
Sunday: Actor-comedian Tommy Chong is 71. Musician Bob Dylan is 68. Actor Gary Burghoff (”MASH”) is 66. Singer Patti LaBelle is 65. Actress Priscilla Presley is 64. Singer Rosanne Cash is 54. Actress Kristin Scott Thomas is 49. Actor John C. Reilly (”Chicago,” “Gangs of New York”) is 44. Rapper Heavy D is 42. Guitarist Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes is 40.