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Lenox Lounge


Lenox Lounge Legacy

Watch a short video about the Lenox Lounge and the famous figures who performed there. Learn more about Harlem Residents: Learn more about Black History: Built in 1939, the Lenox Lounge was a hub of Harlem’s cultural life, attracting famous regulars like Billie Holiday and Langston Hughes. In December 2012, the Lenox Lounge closed its doors with plans to open at a new address.

LenoxloungeThe Lenox Lounge

Lenox Lounge was a long-standing bar in HarlemNew York City. It was located in 288 Lenox Avenue, between 124th and 125th. The bar was founded in 1939 by Dominic Greco and served as venue for performances by many great jazz artists, including Billie HolidayMiles Davis, and John ColtraneHarlem Renaissance writers  James Baldwin and Langston Hughes were both patrons, as was Malcolm X.

The bar deteriorated through the middle of the 20th century. Alvin Reid, Sr. purchased it in 1988 and restored the original Art Deco interior from September 1999 to March 2000, during the only closure in the bar’s history.

The Lenox Lounge was voted “Best of the Best” by the 2002 Zagat Survey Nightlife Guide and by the 2001 New York Magazine.

harlem_historic_lounge_v2_460x285In 2012, a rent increase threatened to shutter the establishment.  In December 2012, it was announced that it would close at the end of the year.  However in January 2013 Reid said he was reopening at 333 Lenox Avenue and that it would have its iconic neon sign there.  Richard Notar, who owned the Nobu Restaurant chain and who took over the lease on the original 288 Lenox location, said he would maintain the decor of the original 288 lounge which does not yet have a name.

article-2245242-166B7CF5000005DC-600_634x457In popular culture

The Lenox Lounge featured as the hangout of Detective John Shaft in the 2000 remake of the film Shaft.

Both the exterior facade and interior of Lenox Lounge were featured in the film American Gangster. In one scene Denzel Washington‘s character, Frank Lucas, meets with Nicky Barnes (played by Cuba Gooding Jr.) in the renowned Zebra Room at the Lenox Lounge. The Zebra Room also was used for a key scene in the Mad Men pilot, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes.”

American entertainer Madonna filmed scene for the “Secret” music video here and around Harlem in 1994.

Photos and some footage of the Lenox Lounge also appear in a season 2 episode of the television drama, White Collar, titled “Countermeasures”. The lounge was set as the scene of the final showdown of the episode, wherein both Neal Caffrey and ‘Ford’ were being held against their will, forced to print 1991 one-hundred dollar bills.

8271566910_2dc6d3415a_bThe Lenox Lounge was also set as the hangout for criminal/hitman Remmy Powers (played by Paul Guilfoyle) in the New York Undercover episode, “Eyewitness Blues” (1994)New York Undercover: “Eyewitness Blues” (1994). In the episode, Powers also rents a residential room at the club.

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