By Brennen Jensen, Baltimore City Paper, 12/6/2000
For the better part of a decade, the boarded-up Congress Hotel has loomed over the 300 block of West Franklin street like a shabby ghost. It’s the seven-story equivalent of Miss Havisham’s moldy wedding cake, a heap of decorative curlicues and flourishes mired in neglect and lorded over by rats. A long-shuttered nightspot lies in the basement of this 97-year-old hostelry, eight granite steps beneath Franklin Street. Descend those steps, pass through a rusty metal door, and you’re in a dim, cavernous room punctuated by 10 stout columns.
“What can I get you?” a voice calls out from the gloom. It’s LesLee Anderson. Sporting a voluminous head of blond hair, she stands behind a marble bar stretching some 70 feet along the north side of the room.
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