One of the last iconic establishments that exemplified the spirit of Harlem will be closing its doors.
According to the New York Amsterdam News, The Lenox Lounge, located on Lenox Avenue between 124th & 125th street which has served as a venue for jazz legends such as Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane, will serve its last drink at the end of the year, marking the end of an era in Harlem.
The lounge, which was originally opened as a speakeasy in 1939, rose to fame as a dinner club catering to white patrons. The main act was the Haba Haba Girls, a chorus line of black women.
After the bar was allowed to deteriorate for most of the 20th century, Alvin Reed purchased the venue, which once had Harlem Renaissance writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes as its patrons, in 1988. Reed restored the original Art Deco interior including the long mahogany bar, checkered black-and-white floor and the world famous Zebra Room. The bar’s interior was returned to its original condition and served as the setting for numerous television shows and films including “American Gangster,” “Malcolm X,” and “Mad Men.”
“The most important thing I did for the club was to institute a jazz policy, which played a major role in bringing more customers into the club,” stated Reed. “I wanted to make a difference in Harlem, and I think my ownership of the Lenox Lounge helped me achieve that goal.”
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