NYC’s culturally rich Harlem neighborhood is filled with musicians, actors, poets and scholars calling the place home. Naturally, a strong drink in a cool space isn’t hard to find. Here are Harlem’s top 10 bars.
Any establishment that has an Afro-Asian-American influence is worth the trip. So, pay a visit to The Cecil for that specialty coffee bean in your cup – the latest is from Tanzania. Or, head here for finely tuned fusion cocktails ranging from whiskeys to bubbles to vodkas and other unusual spirits. We recommend trying The Yenga or Blood and Fire. Loyal customers rave about The Cecil, impressed by everything from their indulgent desserts to expertly crafted cocktails.
Any Harlem resident doling out advice to newcomers will recommend a trip to Red Rooster. This neighborhood staple, arguably the first of its kind, offers a soul food-Ethiopian fusion. Red Rooster’s delicious cuisine is served up by master chef Marcus Samuelsson. Therefore, this venue is a little bit on the pricier side. However, it beckons a hip crowd of artists and cultured socialites who convene in this classic Harlem space for weekend brunch and live jazz.
Whether it’s for the avocado fries, their famous peanut butter burger, or one their many tailored cocktails, Harlem Public is a sure go-to for anybody in the Harlem neighborhood. Most customers tend to the bar and trust the opinions of the cocktail connoisseurs behind it. It’s no surprise that this spot packs ’em in on the weekends. So, be sure to come early or opt for a weeknight. Harlem Public also highlights seasonal and local craft beers. If you’re not in a festive cocktail mood, try the wondrous world of craft beers offered at this neighborhood staple. Happy hour is a local favorite, great for post-work date nights or a gathering of friends.
Kentucky Blossom or Wild Hibiscus Royals paired with truffle fries, brussels sprout, or fried chicken sliders – are you drooling yet? With killer food and cocktail combos on offer, 67 Orange Street has established themselves as a solid option for any Harlem resident or visitor. The space at 67 Orange Street is both comfortable and sleek. There is attentive staff and well-made cocktails that complement what customers call a true New York ambiance. The diverse crowd and genuine space for free flowing conversation makes for an ideal evening out.
A late-night local favorite, At The Wallace offers each customer the space to fully experience delicious food and drinks paired with fun. Partake in Jenga, enjoy a photo booth with shots or play arcade games that beckon each passerby. Aside from the allure of non-traditional bar activities, the fare is inexpensive and highly recommended. With a casual ambiance, there’s no need to dress up. It’s great for groups with a stellar happy hour, and the space is perfect for dancing for anyone brave (or drunk) enough.
An inexpensive spot that largely caters to Columbia students, this Harlem-based watering hole offers great drinks and an enticing happy hour. Described as hosting ‘incredibly weird crowd but in a good way’, this dive bar is sure to live up to your expectations. 1020 Bar is a place where the bartenders are likely to remember your name and the drinks are cheap and stiff. The pool table/dart board combo top it off. If you like beer, you’re in luck; indulge in cheap drafts. Visit on weekend afternoons for trivia and smaller crowds.
Seven nights a week, you can walk into Paris Blues and listen to live jazz for no cover charge. Grab a drink at this cozy, long-standing dive bar that’s served as a Harlem institution for 40 years. Patrons can expect a friendly smile from the tending owner, and some incredible live music. Paris Blues is like a club from another era; a true sample of what was and what still is within the original jazz community.
A rather small but vibrant space can’t keep good food, strong drinks and smooth jazz under wraps for long. Smoke Jazz & Supper Club entertains and is entertained by some of the most renowned contemporary acts in New York City. While prices are on the higher side, Smoke is worth it. Their interactive website lets patrons get a glimpse of what’s to come and allows them to make reservations online. Music sets begin at 7pm and go until 11.30 pm. There are three acts in total, each one hour long. Get ready to be part of the action – this place is lively.
Do you like beer gardens, projector TV screens for big games, outdoor seating, and good food? Then Harlem Tavern will tick all your boxes. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by this newly renovated large beer garden. In fact, many Harlem locals have begun to call this a staple, saying that it’s exactly what the neighborhood needed. This bar and grill serves up some of the best chicken wings and other tasty American dishes in the area. There are also cold brews to wash it all down with. Heads up: game nights can get pretty loud.
This hybrid hotspot beckons anyone with an eye for great decor and a stomach for great taste. The Grange Bar & Eatery is decked out with trendy mason jars, crafted cocktails and delicious food. The Grange sources their produce from local farms and sea-docks, so your food and drinks are made with the freshest local ingredients. The beautiful oak floors and antique chandeliers appeal to a more discerning crowd. Rest assured, the prices aren’t as upscale as the ambiance. Enjoy some fine dining and expertly crafted drinks for fair prices at The Grange Bar & Eatery.