Big City Vibes at New Downtown Hotspot

4th Avenue Lounge distills an urban spirit into a corner of downtown Jackson. It has the physical address of the long-ago diner the Lamar Restaurant — 209 S. Lamar St. — but the slate has been scrubbed clean in the service of a sleek, upscale after-hours gathering spot.

Welcoming by Design

Owner and Designer Ja’Nee Powell’s vision settles deep into the leather cushions, cool wall accents, hidden lighting and custom touches of this hybrid cocktail lounge. Modern furniture in charcoal, navy, white and black cluster around small tables in sociable, stylish arrangements. Cushioned bar stools pull up to a gleaming white quartz bar. Locally crafted wooden pillars, perfect for standing sippers, add a warm touch.

“We were looking for a place where we could go, where we could dress in our nice clothes, listen to some great music, get great cocktails as well as food and appetizers, in a diverse setting,” Powell describes her goal with husband, Chad, for 4th Avenue. “That was the direction that we were looking for — so that we didn’t have to go out of town; we could get it right here in Jackson.

“We know that Jackson is on the brink of redevelopment, and we are excited to be a part of it.” A modern, upscale setting was the target, pulling inspiration from their travels to Dallas, Miami, and Atlanta. A year and a half in the works, 4th Avenue opened in late September. A parking lot in the rear is available, as well as street parking; they plan to add valet service in March.

“My vision was to be able to have a really diverse place in Jackson … That’s one thing that’s very important to me, that everybody feels comfortable in here, no matter where they’re from or who they are.

“We want the old, young, black, white, to be able to come to 4th Avenue and all have a good time.”

Conversation is paramount in this plush pocket of comfort, and even the name reads like the sort of easy direction you’d get from a pal. Lamar is the fourth street down from State Street; the lounge sits right at the corner of Lamar at Pearl.

The hybrid cocktail lounge mixes fine dining, lounge, and bar, all together in one spot. That ambiance is the primary draw, Powell says. In a city where people are more accustomed to white tablecloth fine dining or a full-out club/bar, “we intertwine the both.”

Chef Aubrey Norman Serves Top Shelf Food & Drink

Carefully crafted small plates can do shared or solo service, and alongside carefully crafted cocktails (including flaming drinks), they amp up happy hour and beyond. Seafood dip hits all the right rich, creamy, cheesy notes with fried wontons on the side. Juicy tiger shrimp nestle atop linguine matchsticks bathed in a tasty Alfredo sauce. Sweet potato fries enjoy a friendly drizzle of homemade caramel sauce and a trio of sliders (turkey burgers this time, but beef and pulled chicken are options) hits the spot with delicious intrigue.

Stay a While

TVs in the bar and lounge are turned off at 8 p.m. (unless a headliner game or other enticement warrants otherwise) — all to foster the communicating/networking focus, says Operations Manager and Executive Chef Aubrey Norman. Several screens are coolly camouflaged amid black mirrors above the bar; patrons try to guess how many TVs are there. The music, a good-mood mix of hits from every genre, stays at a level that works for conversation.

A whimsical bubble chair hangs in one corner. One wall reflects a hexagon mosaic in shades of silver and gray, and another corner boast sliding glass panels that can open to the sidewalk and street sounds for an indoor/outdoor vibe. “We wanted every corner, every angle in this place to be in a position where you could take yourself a nice selfie,” says Norman.

Sections in the lounge — from 8- to 10-tops to as intimate as 3- or 4-tops can be reserved on Friday or Saturday nights, or even during the week for happy hour. “Where the deals get done,” Norman says. And, while clientele can range from corporate to social, the draw is the same. “We try to be their celebration destination.”

4th Avenue Lounge hosts happy hour 4-7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. It’s open till 10 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, midnight Thursday (ladies’ night) and 2 a.m. weekend nights.

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Sherry Lucas

Sherry Lucas is a Jackson writer with an appetite for iconic foods. This story was produced in partnership with The Mississippi List. All photos by Sherry Lucas.

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