PLAN DATE: MON / FEB. 26
Whether you live in Harlem or you take the A/C to get there, you’ll feel like a regular at Clay, a favorite neighborhood restaurant. Housed in the former jazz lounge Perk’s, Clay pays homage to the cultural history of its forebears with its inviting ambiance and warmth. One of Clay’s core missives is to be a welcoming place for all, and it shows. The space, with its white-brick exterior and candlelit interior, is chic yet understated, allowing the food and drink to take center stage. Thoughtfully crafted and locally sourced, the dishes—like crispy duck with silky potatoes, or brown butter sea bass with grilled zucchini—are seasonal, experimental, and gratifying. We won’t be surprised if after your first dinner here, you and your sweetie find yourselves back in the neighborhood, and back at Clay.
Just because Clay is no longer a jazz lounge doesn’t mean you can’t throw it on back to the old days. After cozying up at Clay, watch Harlem do jazz the way it does it best at Paris Blues, the oldest live jazz dive in the neighborhood. Opened in 1968 and still managed today by Samuel Hargress Jr., Paris Blues boasts seven nights of old school jazz and blues that keeps the music going until 3 a.m.
Jazz, Two Drink Minimum
Cozy, Local, Fun
553 Manhattan Avenue, Manhattan
idk tip: Make sure to explore the wine and cocktail list. Clay specializes in natural wines from Oregon to the Canary Islands, and the cocktails—like Traveling Light and Good Morning Heartache—are named after jazz tunes as a nod to predecessor Perk’s.
163 W 121st Street, Manhattan
idk tip: A two-drink minimum counts as your cover, and gets you access to live jazz and free family-style food.