Lenox Lounge

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The Lenox Lounge

Lenox Lounge was a long-standing bar in Harlem, New York City. It was located in 288 Lenox Avenue, between 124th and 125th. The bar was founded in 1939 by Ralph Greco and served as a venue for performances by many great jazz artists, including Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, and John Coltrane. Harlem Renaissance writers James Baldwin and Langston Hughes were both patrons,[1] as was Malcolm X.[2]

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.[3]

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

In 2012, a rent increase threatened to shutter the establishment.[4] In December 2012, it was announced that it would close at the end of the year.[5] However in January 2013 Reid said he was reopening at 333 Lenox Avenue and that it would have its iconic neon sign there.[6] 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.[7] In May 2017 the building was demolished.

The Zebra Room was used for a key scene in the Mad Men pilot, "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes".[8]


  1. ^ Official site Archived 2001-04-01 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Souter, Tessa (June 8, 1997). "The New Heyday of Harlem". The Independent.
  3. ^ "Lenox Lounge - Place Matters". www.placematters.net. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  4. ^ Feeney, Michael J. (March 8, 2012). "Lenox Lounge, Harlem's famed jazz club, could be on last set: Longtime owner wants to keep legacy alive". Daily News. New York. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012.
  5. ^ Gregory, Kia (December 7, 2012). "Harlem to Say Goodbye to the Lenox Lounge". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  6. ^ Harlem club moving to new spot - AM New York - January 4-6, 2013
  7. ^ Gregory, Kia (January 9, 2013). "In Harlem, a Nightspot So Iconic They'll Reopen It. Twice". The New York Times. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  8. ^ Commentary for "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", Mad Men Season 1 DVD, 2008.

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