The Legendary Lenox Lounge: Jazz in the Zebra Room
Music. Jazz that's for real. And eclectic. Swing, Bepop, Free, Hard Bop - Lenox Lounge showcases it all.
Ambience. Harlem art deco at it's best. Cool, classy and swingin'.
Service. A bit frantic on Friday and Saturday nights. Otherwise, warm and breezy.
Price. On the weekends, it can get costly. $20 cover, 1 drink minimum. For those on the budget, check out the jam on Sunday nights. Cover is reduced to $10.
Locals. If you want to chat up a local, avoid the weekends which tends to attract the trendy downtown crowd. You can expect folks to be warm and inviting, provided you have something of substance to contribute to the conversation. Be prepared to talk politics and the ways of women.
What makes this place special? 1. The owners, Alvin and Alvin, Jr. They've kept this spot sincere. 2. The history. Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Malcom X. 3. The experience. Profiling in the Zebra Room and listening to the song of Harlem. It doesn't get anymore lush than this.
Dress Code: Casual. Except Friday and Saturday nights - upgrade to dressy casual/casual chic.
The Cotton Club on Monday Night!: Lindy Hop in Harlem!
Dance. If you'd like to have a taste of the Swing Era ballrooms in Harlem, Monday nights at the Cotton Club and Lucy's Supper Club will give you more than a flavor. Be prepared to swing, swoon and sweat.
Music. Served by the Harlem Renaissance Orchestra a.k.a. the cotton Club All-Stars, the most swingin' music in all of NYC can be found at the Cotton Club every Monday night. Although the musicians vary at Lucy's Supper Club, the Monday late night swing jams can send anybody.
Ambience. Don't expect the premier nightclubs of the Harlem Renaissance days. Lucy's Supper Club and the Cotton Club are significantly more modest.
Service. There when you need it.
Price. The Cotton Club can be pricey (around $20), however, considering that one is patronizing a 17 piece band and the opportunity to dance to live swing music, the cover is a bargain. Lucy's is less expensive (around $5), but the dancing doesn't get started until 10:30pm.
Dance Lessons. Don't have the slightest idea how to Lindy Hop? Lessons are frequently given at the Cotton Club. Times vary, but check in around 6pm.
What makes this place special? Don't be suprised to Frankie Manning or other stars of the original Savoy Ballroom cuttin' loose on the dance floor. Yep. A few of these legendary dancers are still swingin' at damn near 100 years old.
Dress Code: Very nice. Although coat and tie is not required, it wouldn't hurt to show a bit of respect. Old timers are often decked out in their Sunday finest. Avoid jeans and kicks.
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