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 Dominic 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.

In popular culture[edit]

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".[8]

American entertainer Madonna filmed scene for the "Secret" music video there 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.

The 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).[9] In the episode, Powers also rents a residential room at the club.

A reference to the Lenox Lounge (Lenox Club) was made in the beginning of Lupin The Third: Missed by a Dollar ($1 Money Wars in Japan). It was also mentioned in Marvel's Luke Cage Season 2, episode 6.[citation needed]

The Lenox Lounge was the scene for Colleen proposing to Black Shawn in the 2nd episode of season 7 of "Rescue Me".


  1. ^ Official site Archived 2001-04-01 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "The New Heyday of Harlem," Tessa Souter, The Independent on Sunday, June 8, 1997
  3. ^ "Lenox Lounge - Place Matters". www.placematters.net. Retrieved February 24, 2019.
  4. ^ "Lenox Lounge, Harlem’s famed jazz club, could be on last set: Longtime owner wants to keep legacy alive" by MICHAEL J. FEENEY The NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Thursday, March 8, 2012
  5. ^ Gregory, Kia (December 7, 2012). "Harlem to Say Goodbye to the Lenox Lounge". Retrieved February 24, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  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". Retrieved February 24, 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  8. ^ Commentary for "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes", Mad Men Season 1 DVD, 2008.
  9. ^ "Paul Guilfoyle". IMDb. Retrieved February 24, 2019.

External links[edit]