I visited the Mollie Fontaine Lounge, which occupies a tall Victorian house located in a nice area of Memphis, on a sultry June evening. From the street large exotic lamps glow warmly in the upper windows. Once inside, flickering candles adorn each step of the turning Victorian staircase and are scattered throughout the different rooms creating a sense of expectation. Between what was once a double sitting room there's a baby grand flanked by a row of bar stools. In the rear sitting room the bar is outlined with twinkling tiny white lights, while the front room is elegantly appointed with a wide, low Moroccan table, a cowhide rug and comfortably upholstered chairs. Upstairs is divided into separate dining rooms allowing for intimate dining. Throughout the establishment one can see Karen Carrier's work in the funky chic atmosphere. This is accomplished through a combination of partially stripped architectural details, hanging colored lanterns, gauzy curtains and Anthropologie-style furnishings.
A glance at the menu made me wish I had not already eaten. I only had drinks and therefore cannot attest to the quality of the food, but it looked wonderful. Everyone in our party enjoyed their drinks and ordered another round. Our service was efficient, but unobtrusive. It was a slow evening so I chatted with an upstairs waiter who was nice enough to fill me in on the local (non-blues) music scene.
The lounge pianist and (apparently) regular clientele were somewhat reminiscent of characters from John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. All of the above resulted in a entertaining cocktail time. Molly Fontaine's is definitely a worthwhile place to visit at least once.
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