Harkins looks into Fondren Underground

Some have called it a “bar.” Some have even said a “speakeasy.”

Fondren Guitars’ Patrick Harkins calls it an extension of what he is already doing.

“Fondren Underground” will make its official debut during the March edition of Fondren’s First Thursday but revelers will have to look below the surface to find the fun.

“We’re truly underground, under Rooster’s at Fondren Corner,” Harkins says of the new venture, a performance space that gives his students a chance to shine.

“It’s a venue for the Fondren Guitars School of Music. In the last five years or so, we’re not just teaching, but teaching people how to play. If I was a kid and got put on a stage with lights, a PA and an audience, I’d be hooked in. I got to do that as a kid and want to do that for others. It’s a whole new experience.”

The room is a joint venture for Harkins with Nathan and Tim Glenn of Rooster’s, turning what once was their storage space into lesson rooms last fall and now, the addition of the venue.

Harkins is the leaseholder but in business with the Glenns to provide catering and beverages. “We’re teamed up on that, together,” Harkins says of the relationship. Nathan may use the space for a cooking demo or a class. Harkins may host his students for a jam session. He calls it a “community-ish room.”

But it’s not just kids who will rock out here. Adults are part of the Fondren Guitars’ lesson program, too, and the venue gives them a place to “make a night of it” with friends or stop by for an impromptu jam. “At lunch on a Thursday, we’re playing Howling Wolf and that guy comes in and plays then he goes back to work.”

Fondren Underground will be available for private events only, not “open on a Friday night to grab a beer.” A band’s listening session for a new album, a class, a reunion or a birthday all come to mind when Harkins thinks of the best use of the space. “Because we’re not having to shut a restaurant down to host, it’s a very affordable, very cool place to be,” he explains. “We had a birthday Saturday with 50 or 60 people and it was great. We have custom built tables, sound and lights. There’s an ambience to it.”

Harkins sees Fondren Underground as a “cool extension of music in Fondren.” “Whether you’re a pro or just developing your craft, this is another palette for art to be generated in Fondren. I want to tap into that.”

To book the space or inquire about music lessons, contact Fondren Guitars at 601.362.0313 or