When a new jazz club opens in the space that Harlem’s Lenox Lounge has occupied for more than 70 years, it won’t be much different from what it is now.
At least that’s what the space’s new owner, Richard Notar, told the Economic Development Committee of Community Board 10 last week.
“I don’t want to change a thing about how it looks,” he said, adding it will be “not too much different than what it is now.”
One thing that will be different is the name.
The world-famous Lenox Lounge sign will be replaced by one that says Notar Jazz Club, and it is scheduled to open in early March, Notar said during his first public comments about his plans.
Notar said he will add a bakery to the dining, drinking and performing space on Lenox Ave., just off W. 125th St. He said the food offerings will be similar to the Southern fare that can be found in South Carolina.
The Nobu managing partner, who grew up in Queens and started out as a busboy at Studio 54, said he’ll do his hiring from within the community, and said he plans to work with local schools to teach youngsters about the range of careers available in food service.
Among other plans is to have Harlem artist Franco the Great paint a mural in the bakery area, Notar said.
The meeting also provided the first opportunity for longtime Lenox Lounge owner Alvin Reed to speak with Notar.
“You haven’t even come to me,” said a visibly shaken Reed, who was forced out of his iconic Harlem watering hole when the rent was doubled to $20,000 per month.
“I know that business inside and out,” added Reed, who said he was heartbroken that the business that he has run since 1988 would be coming to an end.
“We reached out,” he said. “It’s like I don’t exist.”
- Lenox Lounge To Close December 31st, 2012 (harlemworldmag.com)
- Richie Notar Sees Value In Lenox Lounge (harlemworldmag.com)