The bar’s bocce court alongside their patio.

The highly anticipated enigma that is the corner spot near Cups and Rainbow is finally ready to pour you a drink.

Fondren Public will open their doors to the public on Monday, September 2, 2013, at 4 pm.

Andrew Kehoe, General Manager, sat down with Find It In Fondren® during a soft opening event to tell us more.

Fondren Public boasts extensive beer offerings. Kehoe says there are 24 taps and 47 bottle and can options, including locals like Abita Andygator, Crooked Letter Crooked Hefe, Lazy Magnolia Backwoods Belgian and Lucky Town Ballistic Blonde.

There’s also a full bar, managed by Brad Dreher, serving wine and cocktails. Standouts include the Mississippi Mule, Fondren Public’s take on the Moscow Mule, made with Cathead Honeysuckle Vodka and their boilermaker, crafted with Lucky Town Pale Ale.

Hope you’re hungry, but not for the typical “battered and thrown in the fryer” bar fare. Kehoe has concocted a food menu with the help of Parlor Market’s Reynolds Boykin.

“It’s not your standard bar menu,” Kehoe says. “I’m psyched about our sliders (made with beef, chicken, pulled pork or veggies).” He mentions the fried cheese bites with pepper jack and candied bacon. The boiled peanuts are something they have worked on since construction began and the Cajun corn dog comes out in their jalapeno beer batter with a link of Country Pleasin’ sausage. And, they’re not doing fries. Fondren Public will serve their own specially made house chips.

Come for a beer, stay for the aesthetic
Fondren Public will certainly be known for their food and drink, but the bar’s interior is something to appreciate. Wood salvaged from an 1880’s era farmhouse in Lauderdale County covers the walls, the table tops and the bar. You’ll find church pews and other decorative elements reclaimed from the renovation of First Presbyterian Church.

And, there are TV’s but they’re not obnoxious – and that’s the point. Kehoe says, sure, college football will be playing on Saturdays and big events like the World Series will be on. But this isn’t a sports bar and they’re not looking to create that scene.

Fondren Public will be the first bar in Jackson with bocce ball courts, built out back next to a large covered patio. “Once we really get established, we’d like to form a league. Inside, there’s a shuffleboard table and shelves filled with board games.

Down the road, Kehoe says, Fondren Public wants to be more informative and interactive with craft beer and bar crowd and, as a whole, the neighborhood. “We want to have tastings with our vendors and brewers and just be a place to hang out with a different group each week,” he says. “There will always be something going on.”

The neighborhood will welcome it. Kehoe says there has been tremendous support from Fondren and they hope to make Fondren Public the place where locals are their regulars. “We want to be involved in the community and already have stuff in mind,” he explains. “We don’t just want to be the place where people go to drink; we want to be helpful.”  Helpful and entertaining, he adds.

Kehoe says one thing is certain: you’ll always be welcome at Fondren Public with a smile from behind the bar and from their servers. “Everyone here will go the extra mile to make sure you have a good time,” he says. “We’re proud of what we’re serving and selling and want to make sure you walk in with a smile and leave with a smile — and that goes for our customers and employees.”

Kehoe says the bar’s hours will be Monday through Thursday, 4 pm to 1 am; Friday 4 pm to 2 am; and Saturday 11 am to 2 am. ‘We want to cater to the service industry crowd,” he says of the late nights. But the crowd is not limited. “We’ll be as broad as we can be,” Kehoe says. “You’ll see young professionals, the musical and arts crowd, Congressman and public servants. “We’re trying to be the bar where you can be a poor college kid sitting next to a big name lawyer. It’s the local watering hole and a place to unwind.”

Originally published September 2013