Thursday, July 14, 2011

Madison Flame

Madison Flame
Madison Flame

Location: 1588 Madison Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, USA

Founded: late 1990s

Closed: July 2007

1588 Madison Avenue has a long history as a club space. Before "a lady named Sharon" opened up the Madison Flame at this location (sometime in the late 1990s), it was the Antenna Club, which claimed to be the "second oldest punk venue in America" (the first was CBGB's in New York). Before that, it was the Well (the Ramones once played there). And before that, back in the 60s, it was the Psych Out Club. And after Madison Flame closed down, the Nocturnal Club set up shop.

But we're concerned with the time period in which this was lesbian space, when it was Madison Flame.

Here's what said about her:

While Madison Flame caters to the ladies, it certainly does not exclude the XY contingent that flocks to the bar for its legendary karaoke nights. Unlike San Francisco, New York and other gay "meccas," the Madison Flame is a city bar that welcomes all genders, regardless of the ability to perform.

And here's clubplanet's take:

Madison Flame - Let’s call it what it is. Madison Flame, at 1588 Madison Ave, is a good place to pull. The crowd is good looking and the ambiance is sexy, so if you can’t meet someone here, well, keep drinking and try again. Liquid courage always helps. Look, we’re not guaranteeing anything, but at Madison Flame you should have plenty of options.

And GayCities (which gave her five stars):

Mostly lesbian dance bar.
Young and trendy lesbian hotspot where everyone with an open mind is welcome.

Here's how a patron from Mississippi characterized "the Flame":

Well known Lesbian Hangout in Midtown. Not a bad place to hang out if your a single girl looking for a girlfriend. Has pool tables and a dance floor.

Here's a patron review from December 2004, in which Madison Flame was praised as a "Lesbian danceateria":

If you're gonna dance and you're a lesbian, this is the place to go in Memphis. The inside looks like you are in a microwave (tin foil wallpaper - no, I'm not kidding) and they only serve beer but it is a fun old school place to hang out. They desperately need a new DJ though. Real real bad.
  • Pros: friendly bartender, pool tables, spacious
  • Cons: need better music, smoky
But by June 2007, Madison Flame was not getting very high reviews from her patrons:

Unfortunately whoever said the south is friendly and the Lesbian crowd is too didn't go to the Madison Flame. They shouldn't be charging a cover for what's inside that dump, I could understand if they had a helluva a DJ but come on now. You could bring in your cd's from your car and hand them to the bartender and ask them to play track 8 and it would be better. The pretty girls that "can dance" go to Backstreet a few blocks away. oh yea even the owner and mgr are sorta snotty too. Better off finding quality gay women at the fox&hound during the sports games on the zillion TV they show on the screens they have.
Need to do some remodelling with all the money you gank those women from weekly.
  • Pros: the only dance bar for women
  • Cons: the only dance bar for women (crappy part of town,no real security)
One month later, in July 2007, the Madison Flame was gone, with a big "for lease" sign out front.

Interior photo of Madison Flame

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