Rumor has it that the long awaited Aloft Harlem hotel opens this Thursday.
The buzz has been building since the news broke in early November. After all, the neighborhood hasn’t ushered in a major hotel in more than 40 years. And what hotel brand befits Harlem more than Aloft? The mid-scale, urban-chic boutique hotel and the historic, trendy-yet-unpretentious neighborhood are a match made in heaven. What’s more – it’s a mutually beneficial union.
Aloft is bringing a touch of style and social scenery to Harlem with its modern design aesthetic, w xyz bar and live music events. So what exactly does Harlem bring to the table? For starters, it gives the hotel’s guests access to history, culture and a colorful mix of upwardly mobile locals they just won’t find anywhere else in New York.
We already revealed a few secret spots and long-time locales in September’s Harlem: A Cinderella Story. To celebrate Aloft Harlem’s opening, we’re serving up a few more recommendations of things to do, sights to see and places to explore nearby the soon-to-debut hotel.
B Braxton 1400 Fifth Ave. at West 116th St.: There are barbershops and there are grooming sanctuaries. With its car service arrivals, on-site bar and exceptional customer service, B Braxton is surely the latter. The upscale men’s salon caters to a multiethnic clientele with discerning tastes and exceptional grooming standards.
Harlem POP 2037 Fifth Ave. at 126th St.: Every Saturday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m., this pop-up experience shop offers up a hodgepodge of art exhibitions, sample sales, music performances, chef demonstrations and food tastings.
Dinosaur BBQ 700 West 125th St. at 12th Ave.: The famous Syracuse-born BBQ joint has finally graduated from its Upstate NY biker bar-style digs a few blocks north to a more spacious and sophisticated locale at 125th St. Live blues on Friday and Saturday nights mean reservations are recommended.
El Museo del Caribe 1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th St.: A $9 entry fee makes this modest Caribbean and Latin American art gallery perfect for a spontaneous and inexpensive addition to any vacation schedule. The December calendar of events is brimming with appearances and performances by writers, artists, scholars and comedians.
Africa Kine 256 W. 116th St., between Adam Clayton Powell and Frederick Douglass Aves.:A stay in Harlem would be incomplete without a taste of Africa. Get yours at Africa Kine, a charming Senegalese restaurant that’s been serving up the most delectable and traditional flavors of West Africa for more than ten years.