La Bodega 47 Social Club Opens with a Bang in Harlem
After a short soft-launch period, La Bodega 47 Social Club at 161 Lenox Avenue on the corner of 118th street is open and ready to shine. Formerly NATIVE Restaurant, this cozy bar and late night eatery is Brian Washington-Palmer‘s new venture, and the joint was jumpin’ last Friday when the space was turned into an indoor-outdoor Birthday party for recent NAACP Image Award Winner Sidra Smith, twin sister of actress Tasha Smith, who celebrated her 43rd birthday with an impressive guest list of friends from the entertainment world such as actor and playwright Ruben Santiago-Hudson and actress S. Erpatha Merkerson, as well as TV news personalities Tamron Hall- MSNBC, Jacque Reid- NBC New York Live, and Mara Schiavocampo- ABC News. Harlem based Chef Alexander Smalls of The Cecil & Minton’s, and Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster were also in the house, and we spotted Bravo TV’s Chef Roblé and a few of the ladies from Bravo’s “Blood, Sweat & Heels” enjoying the festivities as well.
The exterior of La Bodega 47 Social Club was transformed into a Red Carpet tent space, and despite the frigidly cold night, the area provided a perfect entrance for this new Lenox Avenue hotspot, where guests were greeted by a few charming hostesses with a glass of wine and special rum based cocktails. La Bodega 47 offers a Latin and Caribbean-inspired atmosphere with a global collection of 47 of the finest rums from Guyana, Venezuela, Jamaica, Trinidad, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Brazil, West Indies, and local craft brands from New York.
DJ Ness Digital held it down all night, spinning a lively mix of new jams and old-school classics that had the crowd bumpin’ at La Bodega 47, and guests enjoyed the exquisite Birthday cake and champagne below which was set up for Sidra Smith’s celebration. A fun night was had by all, and we expect to enjoy lots of Rum infused evenings at La Bodega 47 in the near future!
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-Su