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La Bodega 47 Social Club in Harlem (New)

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We stopped by La Bodega 47 Social Club this week in Harlem the night of the pouring rain/snow storm and were pleasantly surprised and relieved when we walked through the red velvet drapes into the welcoming, warm space.  Due to weather, and the fact that La Bodega are still in their soft opening until early March, there were just a few patrons at the bar.  However, owner Brian Washington- Palmer along with Harlem Park to Park’s Nikoa Evans Hendricks arrived shortly afterwards.  And we were happy to speak with Brian about what to expect of La Bodega.

We sampled several tasty rum-based drinks which warmed us up nicely.   That warmth was further reinforced by the decor which was dark, cozy, inviting as well as visually interesting.  The old school floating lamps added a fun and unique touch to the atmosphere.  We had hoped to sample the food, but the kitchen will open during the official opening period which is expected in March (for details see the Press Release below).  Many of the planned dishes sound tasty.

To top it all off, the staff was friendly and knowledgeable about and interested in the neighborhood.

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Just below is a photo of the back wall in La Bodega which looks like a shelf full of stacked produce which you would find in any local Bodega.  Or is it?  You will have to stop in to see for yourself.

Big thumbs up to the fun and innovative chic and kitsch design.

La Bodega 47 Social Club 161 Lenox Ave, New York, NY 10026
(212) 280-4700
Hours 5:00 pm to 3:00 am

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PRESS RELEASE

LA BODEGA 47 SOCIAL CLUB TO OPEN IN HARLEM

The Newest Venture from Uptown Restaurant and Nightlife Impresario
Brian Washington- Palmer

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Brian Washington-Palmer

Harlem, NY – January 22, 2014 — Harlem’s nightlife will go up another notch next month with the opening of its newest bar and late night eatery, La Bodega 47 Social Club. Brian Washington-Palmer, the uptown nightlife and restaurant pioneer and owner of such acclaimed hotspots as Bleu Evolution, the Monkey Room, No Parking and Native, will open the upscale bar and lounge on the corner of 118th and Lenox, adding to Harlem’s ever-expanding entertainment scene and to Lenox Avenue’s growing nightlife venues.

The Latin- and Carribean-inspired La Bodega is a rum craft mixology concept that will feature cocktails skillfully created with a well-curated global collection of the finest rums from the Diaspora including Guyana, Venezuela, Jamaica, Trinadad, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Brazil, West Indies, as well as local craft brands from New York. It will open initially with drinks only, but eventually include a Latin infused menu from Palmer-Washington, a chef who was at the helm of the kitchens in all of his previous ventures.

La Bodega’s design and concept is based on the beloved New York City institution of the bodega, the “corner store” used for smaller grocery items, a gathering place, and an opportunity to satisfy a craving — salty, sweet or of the alcohol variety. The social club is a continuation of a conversation that began with Washington-Palmer’s journey as a NY nightlife and restaurant impresario, from his Lower Eastside days, to his many Washington Heights ventures, to Harlem’s Native and now La Bodega. It is lounge and a social meeting place with an eclectic, multicultural groove that will finally give Harlem a go-to bar that is as conceptual and upscale as it is welcoming and neighborly.

The bodega influence is carried throughout the project, from the exterior, echoing the look and feel of a traditional bodega, with bright awnings and creative lighting, to interior design elements that also include references to the bodega motif coupled with a neutral palette of warm tones against design elements of wood, metal, glass, lucite and ecological materials like cork.

Washington-Palmer designed the overall space and concept and the vision is executed by designer William Rohlfing, a scenic and interior design specialist with clients like Steven Miesel, 40 Acres and a Mule, BET, Universal Pictures, Apple, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macys, and Victorias Secret, among others. Central to the design is the bar that creates a cohesive feeling to the room for maximum opportunities for interaction. Dramatic lighting along with a customized playlist of Latin, House, World and other global-themed lounge music round off the atmosphere for a cool and eclectic vibe.

Hours of operation: 5 pm to 3 am M-Sun

The Park 112 in Harlem (Review)

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We recently visited The Park 112 for dinner on a Wednesday night in December.  The Park is conveniently located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 112th Street (Harlem Restaurant Row) sandwiched in-beween 67 Orange and the 5 and Diamond Restaurants.  Great atmosphere.  Its large open multi optional space provides many different seating options.  The attractive long raised center communal table sets the mood for potential large get togethers or a table for two sitting across from one another.  There are two additional raised tables separate from the communal table near the back.  Along the south wall comfortable leather banquettes run the full length of the place with 2 and 4 top seating.  The opposite (north) wall is a long attractive bar scene that was festive and full of life when we arrived.  We will definitely be back for drinks in the near future.

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We arrived early and there were only a few tables but by 9 pm the restaurant was comfortably full.  They have a great section in the way back that would be an ideal VIP area or place for a private party with high grand tufted leather banquettes (see photos of interior below).

The speciality cocktails are delicious.  I recommend The Park 112 – sparkling wine, pavan orange blossom liqueur, crop meyer lemon vodka & pomegranate in a champagne flute glass.  Also The Frederick Douglass – bullet bourbon, chili passion fruit puree, rimmed with chili sugar.  WARNING it is hot!  I enjoyed the extra heat but another person in my group found it too hot.  They also have a Self-Serve Wine Machine.  A unique exploration of respectable wines through self-service enomatic machines.  This allows the patron to enjoy tastes, half glasses and full pours of a continually rotating list of favorite vintages.   Definitely a unique concept and cool addition for Harlem restaurant row.

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Lewis Tucker and Chef Kingsley John

We spoke extensively with owner Lewis Tucker and chef Kingsley John who were both enthusiastic and accommodating with information about the Park 112 finally opening.  Lewis Tucker who has lived in Harlem, Westchester and the Bronx for years, was the president of Sean Combs Enterprises and he ran Bad Boy Records. Tucker’s list of credentials are too long to list and include being a co-founder of Essential Sports.  No stranger to the scene, he explained he wanted to bring a downtown vibe uptown and literally picked this location and designed it with this purpose in mind.  In addition to the large interior space, there will be an outdoor private patio in the back once the nice weather rolls around in late Spring.  We saw the raw fenced in space and were surprised by how large it was.  This has the potential to be very trendy for the summer months ahead and unique to this area.  We have a lot of sidewalk seating now in the neighborhood for the summer months – Harlem Food Bar, Vinateria, Harlem Tavern, Harlem Shake, The Corner Social, Jado Sushi, etc., but no private outdoor patio options with the excepotion of Ricardos in East Harlem and one or two other spots.

The menu is multifaceted.  Globally inspired small and large plates I would describe as American /Global Fusion/Caribbean with several options for every budget.  We ordered before we met chef Kingsley John and after speaking with him we were all left wanting to come back to try recommendations that we hadn’t ordered.  Chef John, a native of the West Indies, has worked in the kitchen under Marcus Samuelsson at Aquavit and is passionate about the small and large plates he has created.  I’m not a big soup fan  but was encouraged to try the carrot ginger soup.  It was so good.  We also enjoyed the duck lettuce wraps, lobster spring rolls, teriyaki lollipops and crispy prawns.  Next time I’d like to try the smoked sea scallops and fried oysters which looked tasty at the table next to ours.  The butterflied branzino with head on (large plate) was delicious!  Priced at $28 but worth the coin.  We also had the spiced crusted rack of lamb and the park 112 steak frittes rib eye.  The fries with the steak were decoratively sculptured side by side forming a sort of circular cup-like design.  A+ for presentation.  There is something for everyone here on the menu.  After speaking with Kingsley, we discussed our next visit and how we’d like to focus exclusively on all the Caribbean dishes.

Great desserts.  I could have one of their chocolate mousses (pictured below) every day.  We sampled several desserts together including the lava cake but I ultimatley stopped sharing the mousse and claimed it as mine.  I need it again soon.  They are now also open for Sunday Brunch.  Visit their menu for all small plates, large plates and brunch items.  Another great addition to the neighborhood.  Stop in and check out the Park 112 for yourself.

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* Large space
* Good bar scene
* American New/Global Fusion/Caribbean
* Downtown chic meets uptown vibe
* Private outdoor dining (Spring 2014)
* Great service
* Friendly atmosphere

The Park 112
2080 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
New York, NY 10026
(646) 524-6610

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Limited-Edition Harlem NY American Made Harlem Tee

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If you are a collector of Limited-Edition items and clothes, check out this “KEEP HARLEM, HARLEM” T-shirt only available for a few days until they are sold out.

This shirt is in celebration of preserving the culture and history of Harlem.  A great design and something unique to add to your closet.  They are 100% American made, from design to print, on ultra-soft American fabrics, canvas Ringspun Tee – only $19.95.

Act fast before they are all gone!

Get yours HERE.

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(NEW) Silvana Opens This Week in Harlem

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(UPDATE: We did go there this weekend. Our review coming soon!)

A few weeks back we stopped by Slivana’s and visited with the owners who were hard at work but gave us a tour of their new place.   Sivan and her husband Abdel are opening their third Harlem business “Silvana” Friday, June 21st.  On Friday the downstairs only will be open for their Opening party.  Saturday both the upstairs and downstairs will be open for business.

They also own the successful and one of my personal favorite music spots, The Shrine as well as the popular French bistro and bar Yatenga which are both located further uptown on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.

Sivan was explaining that they wanted to bring a similar type of place to lower Harlem but with Israeli cuisine on the menu.  Located just off the corner on 116th Street and FDB directly across from Harlem Tavern they couldn’t have chosen a better location.

Downstairs will have a restaurant, bar, performance stage, DJ set up and tables.  A very cool cozy vibe and pretty spacious from what I could see under construction.  This will be a nice addition to Harlem Restaurant Row.  They plan to have live music every night followed by a DJ and late night Hookah.  Upstairs will feature accessories from around the world such as tea, coffee and a variety of other things including home goods.  Sivan was hinting that eventually they may have an outdoor area (patio) in the back as well which would be very cool, but first they just want to open and get things up and running.

I predict Silvana’s will be equally as successful as the Shrine for the customers who frequent Harlem Tavern and the various other locations that offer live music.  What will set Silvana apart is they will provide  live music every night in addition to Israeli food which will make them truly unique for all of us Harlemites to enjoy.  A few of us from HarlemCondoLife are going this weekend to try it out so stay tuned for a follow up review.

Silvana
300 W. 116th Street (at FDB/ 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10026
(646)692-4935