Find classic cocktails and downtown flavor in this Harlem speakeasy
By Jessica Dufresne
Photography by Bill Brady
Imagine a hideaway where plush, maroon curtains give way to an intimate, dimly lit boîte that serves original-recipe cocktails and food, all amid a soundtrack of soulful R&B and jazz-infused rap. Such an oasis does exist—and it’s in Harlem.
Entrepreneur Karl Franz Williams conceived 67 Orange Street, a months-old 19th-century-inspired speakeasy that seats 30 guests (plus a private chef ’s table), to bring a sexy—but not naughty—energy uptown. “I get tired of going downtown whenever I want to go out, and I like going to distinctive places,” says Williams, who also owns Harlem’s Society Café. “I’m not sure that there are any other classic cocktail bars above 14th Street.”
Named after the onetime New York City location of a black-owned, prohibition-era bar, 67 Orange Street evokes that period through its decor, drinks, and undercover vibe. An
unmarked door on a nondescript street makes for an exclusive experience à la Milk & Honey or La Esquina, whose locations were once top secret. Once inside, expect appetizer-size plates that cost no more than $11 and raw bar selections available at market
price. Chef Adam Bazaldua whips up tasty delights such as Sweet Potato Wedges ($9), served with slivers of red onions, smoked turkey, and New York cheddar, evenly smothered with apple gravy, and Orange Roasted Duck Leg with Cinnamon Mashed Potatoes ($11). But this is mainly a bar, and house mixologist Kali Erwin, who created the drink menu, will take care of you.
Cute cocktail names such as Side-by-Side Car, Ol’ Fashionista, and Ben Down belie the drinks’ potency. Plus, the dessert libations, Wild Hibiscus Royale (complete with an edible version of the flower) and Raspberry Truffle, are also highly intoxicating.
Typically, you’d be hard-pressed to find such an elegant yet laid-back space uptown where grown, professional folks can lounge, drink, eat, and listen to great music. But if you look hard enough, you’ll be glad you discovered 67 Orange Street.
67 Orange Street. 2082 Frederick Douglass Blvd. 212.662.2030. 67OrangeStreet.com