Our landmark building at 551 Ponce de Leon Avenue began life in 1929 as the Garner-Wallace Hotel, a stately but short-lived lodge which fell victim to the Great Depression, closed and then re-opened in the 1930s as Hotel Ponce de Leon. In 1956, Mrs. P's opened in the basement as an ode to Vera Phillips, who owned the restaurant with her husband, Hubert. Mrs. P's offered a quaint lunchtime destination for the nearby Sears building (now Ponce City Market) and featured a $1.25 filet mignon special.
When MJQ opened for business in the basement of Hotel Ponce de Leon in March 1994, Atlanta had never seen anything like it. The shabby nightclub with the mod design was the singular vision of a 6-foot-4-inch Swedish-Chinese tastemaker named George Chang, and the club's name was a nod to his favorite band, the Modern Jazz Quartet. From the beginning, MJQ embodied the mondo fun, sophistication and swingin' repertoire of its namesake, while holding sway over Atlanta's indie-minded nightlife scene.
It was the early '90s and lounge music, dub, jungle, acid jazz, retro-soul and trip-hop defined the times. Chang literally gave these sounds a common ground, and MJQ quickly became a place where cross-dressers, artists, thugs, club kids and urban intellectuals converged to the beat of many drummers.
In September 1997, the club moved a few blocks east down Ponce de Leon Avenue, into a cavernous underground former blues club called Lou's Blues Revue, where it was renamed MJQ Concourse.
Adapting yet again, the hotel became the Ponce Student Suites, offering affordable housing for Georgia State, Georgia Tech and Emory University students before shuttering in 2017. The following year the hotel was purchased, redeveloped, and reopened on May 17, 2021, as the 111-room Wylie Hotel.
As an homage to its historic charm, fierce spirit and past idiosyncrasies, the space reclaimed its original name, and Mrs. P's Bar & Kitchen lives on with its cozy dining room, new sunroom, outdoor patio and second floor terrace. A neighborhood treasure, open to all.