“Manuel’s Tavern…Those of us, whether we showed up here five years ago, 20 years ago or a lifetime, that’s an important location for politics in this city,” Schierbaum said. “For someone to use spray paint to intimidate elected officials… is concerning. And if there is any threat to our mayor or an elected official, we take it very seriously and will provide for their protection.”
Dickens is a major proponent of the $90 million complex, and he’s often shadowed at public events by opponents.
When Maloof arrived around 3:45 a.m. on Wednesday, he discovered paint on the bar’s windows and the word “Andre” in small writing. Maloof had to break into the building because clumps of the still-warm super glue were stuffed in the locks.
“What upset me the most was that they spray painted the Coke mural,” Maloof said. “I can’t figure out exactly how to fix that without damaging the mural.”
Dickens still delivered his address on Wednesday evening to the Atlanta Young Democrats. A small group of protesters gathered outside the bar amid heavy police presence.
Maloof said the vandals “didn’t interrupt business or operations, but it definitely made my day a pain in the butt.”
The tavern is a favorite venue for political events and campaign stops, particularly for Democratic figures. Manuel’s has hosted events for U.S. presidents, governors, members of Congress and local candidates.
But Maloof said he’s felt like “something has changed” in recent months. Just a few weeks ago, for instance, a group of pro-Palestinian protesters stormed a year-end celebration at the bar held by the Fulton County Democratic Party.
“It seems like there’s now a mentality that, ‘If I disagree with you, I must destroy you,’” he said. “It’s such a shame.”
— Staff writer Alexis Stevens contributed to this article.