Harlem is unlike any other neighborhood in New York City, and it has been my home for almost 4 years. Since living in this neighborhood I find it very important to support the local businesses in my hood from my cleaners, to my shoe repair, local clothing stores, restaurants, and bars. I feel as if when it comes to the restaurant/bar scene in Harlem things above 125th street are sometimes an afterthought for most people. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite places to grab a good drink above 125th.
The Honeywell – This bar is located on the lower level of a building in which you are not able to see directly into from walking past. This being said, it creates this level of suspense before you walk into this bar that transports you back to the 70’s with their dimmed yellow lights and retro wallpaper. This bar does not JUST have tentative bartenders that serve up great drinks, but puts on a damn great show while making them. They accept reservations via their website, and is great for large groups and offer great bar bites. Be prepared to fall in love and cheat on current fav bartenders.
3604 Broadway, New York, NY 10031
Touch of Dee – Farther down Lenox in the 140’s we have a dive bar that is has an unpretentious crowd and smooth R&B & hip-hop playing on the jukebox. Touch of Dee has always held a special place in my heart and I am sure it is the amazing prices, good music, bartenders with great personalities, and those random nights that there is chicken wings and macaroni salad. I am pretty sure I have taken every close friend to this bar to experience it and they appreciate a place like this still exist in Harlem. Complex listed them as one of the best dive bars in NYC (#4 if you aren’t being humble), and they were recently featured in The New Yorker. Each time I go to Touch of Dee I have the time of my life and for a fraction of the cost I would pay else where. Just this past Valentine’s Day Bevy Smith was having herself a good old time while at Touch of Dee, and I think she got it right when she said “Old Harlem is the Best Harlem”.
657 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10037
Oso – This bar/restaurant has been open for about a year and they serve up Mexican street food and crafted cocktails. Their specialty cocktail menu is wonderfully put together and wait for it…THEY HAVE OUTDOOR SEATING! They have two happy hours as well because you know NYC is the city that never sleeps. First happy hour starts is from 3-7pm, and the second is 11pm-close. They also have Tequila and Mezcal flights for $17!
1618 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10031
Hyacinth’s Haven – This is my neighborhood bar and I feel like God ordained it to be so and made it to be so easily accessible in my daily commute. The owner has dubbed it “The Cheers Bar of Harlem” and it feels like that, and it only takes one time to become a regular. The bar menu ranges from jerk chicken mac n cheese, oxtail sliders, and crab cakes. The happy hour runs Monday through Friday from 5-8pm.
2374 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd, New York, NY 10030
I shared some of my favorite above 125th street with you. Feel free to drop a line if you have a favorite as well.