On May 17th, Corner Social will open its doors, its sidewalk cafe and its arms to this vibrant community, offering an effortlessly inviting place to dine and drink while absorbing the area’s pulsing future and storied past. The bar and restaurant had a soft open this Spring with modified hours and a modified menu. The Corner Social, which wraps the entire northwest corner of 126th Street and Lenox Avenue, is the vision of social-life entrepreneur and local owner Anahi Angelone. It’s exactly the kind of place she’d dream up: part local tavern, part after-party, part exclusive club where everyone is a welcomed member. It’s where old friends meet up for dinner and new ones are made around the communal table. It’s exactly where you want to start the evening for dinner and drinks, or spend an entire prime time gabbing over great food, or end up after for a midnight snack.
Running the length of its interior space is a 20-foot bar that feels like home, if home had 40+ brands of bottled beer, an 18-tap brass beer box, an enticing specialty cocktail list and a beat. It’s hard not to feel like you are celebrating something here- even if that something is just a Tuesday night in New York City. The history is here in the reclaimed subway tiles, punched tin ceilings and century-old wood, but today’s Harlem lets this bar’s style and vibe shine through. It’s a cool that knows better than to try too hard, yet manages to get it oh so right.
Behind the voices hums what could be New York’s best background music, punctuated by the celebratory ping of glasses clinking together and a chorus of variations on “yum,” and “aaah,” as they tuck into plates that taste even better than they look.
Think pork belly practically melting in your mouth, or semolina crusted branzino – first the crunch, then the sweet soft center, then share. Or think bar favorites with a twist like Cheeseburger Spring Rolls and local “Hot Bread Kitchen” Nachos sourced from La Marqueta in East Harlem. Come back for brunch and you’ll find Cornflake crusted French toast stuffed with banana and mascarpone, topped with maple crème fraiche. Executive Chef, Jonathan Romans has already spread his own particular Pixie dust around some of New York City’s most exciting restaurant audiences and projects, from Tribeca Grill and the Essex House’s Southgate, to the creation and building of Ze Café. Of course it’s all fresh, seasonal and is even sourced from local partners that serve the community.
All this among stylish tweed banquette seating and earthy interior that practically begs you to relax and have fun. Accents of soft amber light flicker from sconces and pendants, framing diners to the outside world through gorgeous glass and wood expansive doors. On cooler days, the steel wrapped fireplace – the centerpiece of the interior space – offers an extra layer of warmth while groups of friends perch at long communal tables facing flat screen TVs. In warmer weather, the sidewalk cafe is a sublime people-watching venue with full kitchen and bar menus.