288 Lenox Ave, New York, NY | Directions 1002740.807297 -73.945543
Neighborhoods: Harlem, Uptown
A Great Place – After a horrible experience of total Snobbery at Billies Black, Lenox Lounge was a totally Exhilarating experience. I was born and raised in Harlem.In my younger days all of Harlem was my playground. At 58 I am now more sedate.I find myself feeling the loss of my home each time I return(live in N.J.). Lenox Lounge has given me a new respect. The staff was nothing short of proffesionalism.Very attentive and warm and friendly. Even the Manager was warm and cordial.We had a great time and will definitely return. Eat your heart out Billies Black!!!!
A beautiful place BUT, oh man, the service here is TERRIBLE! – I'll start with the goods...
Atmosphere... The Art Deco look is AMAZING. It's a beautiful bar. If I didn't have to deal with the bartender (although occasionally there is a competent person tending bar) and most of all the MANAGER I'd come much more often. I love to take friends here for ONE drink when I'm showing off my neighborhood's bar scene because it's such an aesthetic dichotomy. How so? While visually it is a stunning place, the experience from the service leaves one shaking their head in disbelief how people can be so UGLY!
THE SERVICE. I once ordered a drink here, I was the only person in the bar, placed my money down, drank my drink(15 minutes), had to ask the tender to give me change (paid with a twenty) then had to wait over 15 minutes for change(closer to 20) while the bartender counted the drawer/read the newspaper/and went back to counting the drawer(i guess it was early and the draw needed counted but to stop and read the newspaper after asking for change? it was very much as though she wanted me to leave her to total amount of change as a tip), and when I asked about how much longer I had to wait for my change got accosted with some major attitude from the bartender. Did I mention I was the only person in the place? When people are in the joint the service is dismal and I use to just chalk it up to poor management of the bar. Now I see that most of the employees just don't give a damn about providing any sort of hospitable service. The staff has the attitude that it is a historical landmark and patrons should be so lucky to just to be there(but maybe they are right, even with the HORRIBLE service I continue to go). I've seen the manager yell and scream at people. I've even seen a lady walk out crying after having a heated and animated discussion with her. I've heard her bad mouth other jazz establishments(see below for a list of these other, better joints) in the neighborhood (during the bad mouthing she noticed me listening and even apologized for being so tacky but then went on bad mouthing). I've seen countless arguments about prices. The prices are very high($10 bucks for a shot and $7 for domestic beers, ouch), but then again so are several other bars in Harlem. I've never eaten here, and will never eat here because even the regulars tell me to stay way from the food(as qouted from a regular "I can eat crappy food if it's warm, but it's really had to choke down crappy food that's cold.")
The music. WHile the music is the typical Harlem fare (enlightening to just fine), again it's the staff and MANAGEMENT that sucks the beautify out of aural vibes. It's the type of place that charges cover and then stacks on hidden fees (read the other reviews about gratuity and 2 drink minimum). For a better price and WAY BETTER service GO to any other spots in Harlem... (St. Nick's Pub and Shrine usually don't charge a cover. Minton's Playhouse, Bill's Place. P.J.'s usually charge a cover but don't try to gouge you and they're service is actually decent).
Will I stop going to Lenox Lounge... Nah. I love the Art Deco beauty too much to let some sour attitudes ruin it. But every time I go (not that often, maybe 2-4 times a year) I forewarn my guests that this is most likely going to be one of the worse customer service experiences they will ever have. I always follow up Lenox Lounge with one of the previously mentioned alternatives so visitors don't get the impression that Harlem bars are run by egotistical, entitled bullies who treat their customers with spite and contempt.
RELAXED ATMOSPHERE – WE LOVE the lenox lounge, I used to patronize Lenox in the early 90's and i'm still going strong today. Love the atmosphere the crowd is nice and mature, the drinks are strong and the food is GREAT!! Lennox Lounge is a great institution!! I can see why its been around for so many years!!
Great Jazz, Great Food, Good Times – I am really surprised at the reviews below. It seems people are willing to pay 75 to 100$ to go to a pop concert, but can't shell out 36$ to see jazz! I stayed in Harlem for three weeks and went to the Lenox Lounge at least 3 times a week. The jazz on the weekdays was 10$ or sometimes a 16$ drink minimum and on the weekend in the zebra room $20 plus a $16 dollar drink minimum. Where can you go and get an amazing performance for $20, plus get drinks? I had a few of the signature drinks and there were so good. The Harlem Punch, Lady Sings the Blues, and the Chic Coria were my favorites. My business associates and I ate dinner here at least twice a week and the food was slamming. From Jumbo Shrimp to ribs to the collard greens, we were extremely satisfied. Not to mention the portions are huge. With an entree you get two side orders and cornbread. I found the staff to be inviting and held conversations with a few of the waitresses between sets. I am actually apalled at some of the reviews and cant believe how cheap people are! Again, this is a historic venue with the httest jazz in the city and you cant dish out less than 50$. Yet you would pay over 75$ to see Lady Gaga or Hannah Montana! I had the best time there and was honored to see REAL musicians! I will definitely come back to the Lenox Lounge next time we come to the city!
worst treatment i've ever experienced at a restaurant – Horrifying. I never make reviews, let alone bad ones. But I have to after last night. I was really excited to be going after living in Brooklyn for about a decade and not having been. My excitement soon turned to disgust after how poorly my friend and I were treated. We were there with members of the band. They treated the band also as though they were a huge inconvenience..One waitress was extremely rude to a member of the band when he would politely ask about the status of his food, which took 2 hours! Only half of the back area was full. They were understaffed. Everyone who worked there had mad faces and seemed miserable. My friend and I ordered drinks and food, (paying full price). The food took forever. And after being told it was ok to bring drinks from the front that we'd previously paid for, they charged us an additional $ 32 drink minimum. When trying to talk to them about it, they avoided us. The real kicker though was speaking to the upmost unprofessional caddy manager. Where did they get this woman??! I have worked in many restaurants and this manager doesn't understand the purpose of her position. The only way she can get away with such unprovoked, offensive and unaccommodating behavior is that the place is epic and isn't going to go under no matter how she acts? SAD. The legends would be heart broken if they saw the state of that place.
Dear Ms, Staghorn, we're sorry that your last visit to the Lenox Lounge wasn't pleasant. The two of you were guests of one of the musicians whom we allow one guest and not two. As a guest the cover charge is waved however our policy is that everyone pays a drink minimum per performance.
Before entering the Zebra Room you ordered two Red Stripe and two Jamerson which I allowed you to use towards your Zebra Room drink minimum and too you stayed for two shows.
In our efforts to improve our service while maintaining consistency with our policies we are aware that we can not accommodate everyone by giving away free entertainment, food and drinks and for that I'm not apologetic. Our policies have kept us in business for over 70 year and the jazz greats would be thankful! After all we?re one of the last standing original jazz clubs in American. Jazz is America's unique and singular contribution to the world and we are proud of our role as venue.
Nice jazz venue but PRICEY – I've never been to the Lenox Lounge until the other day, but I can't imagine it was always this pricey...in HARLEM? Maybe they're trying to take advantage of the recent yuppification of Harlem, and jack up their prices?
Their website says that there's a $20 "cover", plus a $16 "drink minimum". That means that whether you want to drink or NOT, you must pay $36 to listen to a set of music. But wait, it gets better...! They also AUTOMATICALLY add an 18% gratuity to your bill! My friends and I only ordered DRINKS....no food...so what the hell is an 18% gratuity for DRINKS?! Most folks tip $1 per drink, so instead of the waitress getting a $4 tip for our drinks, she got $8.50 dollars.
When I said something about it to the waitress her reply was "well it says it on our menus" and she also said this is "standard practice at other venues". Well I didn't see it stated anywhere on the drink menu..or at least it wasn't very prominent, and who inspects a menu anyway for the fine print? I've heard of restaurants automatically adding in the tip for DINNER parties of SIX or more, but never for just drinks. I know you get ripped off at comedy clubs where they pull all this "minimum" B.S. and overcharge you, and at many supper/music clubs as well. I didnt' realize the Lenox also apparently fell into this camp?
I think this is very sleazy on the Lounge's part. Why not just be straight up and say "if you want to come listen to jazz, the charge is $39 per person" (cover, drink minimum plus gratuity)?
While I was very disappointed in their sleazy pricing policy, I have to say the venue itself was just perfect. The size of the place, the layout, the art deco decor....all very charming.
Live in New York? Go Somewhere Else – Went for "Happy Hour," but it wasn't until the bill came that we discovered that the sign advertising "$3 beers and $4 wines" did not apply to any of the actual beers and wines that we ordered. Service was slow, they ran out of everything and then we were left with a massive bill full of accounting tricks (came to about $12 a drink even during "Happy Hour")
If you are looking for a Harlem experience more power to you, I'd recommend St. Nick's Pub or The Shrine instead. Harlem is generally not a cheap night out, though you never get watered down drinks and the scene is legit. Still, a night out shouldn't be a night of wresting with the waiters and the bill. Lenox Lounge is probably too used to serving tourists.
Happy hour drinks are displayed on every table at the Lenox Lounge and if you paid $12.00 for a drink then you order top shelf liquor. The happy hour drinks are Bud, Bud Light, Coors Light, O?Douls, Miller, House Wines, Well Drinks, Margaritas, and Wings and the hours are Monday ~ Friday 5pm to 7pm.
Please don't go if you want a peaceful night worst service I ever got – To be honest, I wonder why the rating doesn't have minus star, this place won't deserve even one star for me. Even I know how legend this place is, if they keep this bad shape, it'll be better to close before they damage their glory in the past. If you expect any kind of "service" at there, soon you will find that you are in the wrong place to get. They lost my credit card, call me a lier and call police officer to blame us.
A only good point, music was good, but could've be more enjoyable, if we served earlier and can concentrate for the music. Show start 8:30, and why they let audience in exactly 8:30, even place seems ready around 8 o'clock. If drink only, it's fine, but we have to pay $20 music charge and minimum of $16. This $16 is very serious business for them, even we couldn't catch the waiter to order and end up with one $8 drink. you will see $8 and unused $8 on the bill with build in 18% service fee even you won't get any service. Wish you luck to get waiter first.
But very funny thing, they are very quick to come over only when they ask us to "leave".
I started wonder that might be a new way to cost cut, don't give customer enough chance to order and let them pay shortage, which maybe developed by testing water with innocent tourist. No wonder I didn't see any local people other than the family or guest of musicians. So at first if you are the tourist who are looking for somewhere where local people will go, this is not for you. The famous tourist spot like Village vanguard, blue note, you will find local music lover, which I go to, blue note, they might urge you to leave after the show, but they serve right. You can surely finish your food. Smalls is good to get friendly atomasphire and reasonable price with great music. Seems what they are trying to be another blue note, 3 shows at weekend, serve food, high-end price. But most likely they missed to train their employee to serve customer right.
Dear Ms. Osakama, I remember you ? you are a middle aged Asian woman and you were with two black men. I recall one of the men stating a few derogatory comments to me too. You wanted to change our policy to fit your needs. You didn?t want to pay the cover charges and it was you who ask us to call the police. You are right we get a large group of international patrons that supports our jazz program. Jazz is America?s contribution to the world and we?re glad to be a part of it.
Unfare treatment to the employees. – This is not a complaing about the food or drinks.
This is a warning to anyone who might consider working here. STAY AWAY. Management will sometimes not pay their employees on time, sometimes making them wait two extra weeks for their paychecks. They have also taken out money from paychecks.
The best place for a tasty, smooth, relaxing and joyful evening – Great food, live Jazz music and the Zebra Room very cozy. Remembering the times when dancing, singing and having a cocktail was all good. A place where you can lounge and relax the evening away. A mature tall gentlelman wearing eye glasses, well dressed was a delight(I believe someone called him Mr.Reed). Thank you, I will visit again soon.
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