The days of the supper club are still alive and well in some parts of New York City. Picture this: You’re strolling down a trendy stretch of Lenox Avenue when your eyes catch an ambient patio, couples and groups clinking glasses of Prosecco and sipping craft cocktails. These diners are digging into gourmet comfort food like chicken skin mayo-laced deviled eggs and applewood-smoked salmon in the late setting sun. A sign reads Red Rooster, and you take a seat outside. Or maybe you walk through the red foyer into the indoor space, where art-clad white walls surround wooden tables under dangling exposed bulbs. An open kitchen encased by black chalk-scratched walls depicting giant floating vegetables, food measurements and culinary text creates a food-as-science theme, even allowing you to watch your food being prepared. These spaces are perfect for a dinner with friends, but they aren’t the only options you have when you cross the threshold.
What you may not realize at this point—but hopefully do—is that a trip downstairs not only places you in a sultry speakeasy-style space, but on a trip back to the Harlem Renaissance, a time of explosive creativity and talent in the African American community. The moody Ginny’s Supper Club is bathed in a red glow, candlelit tables and retro chandelier lights providing extra illumination for reading your menu and seeing the delicious southern soul food shareables like Gouda and cheddar-drenched mac and cheese, and plates of chicken and waffles doused in bourbon maple syrup. All around, an attractive crowd dressed to the nines mingles, their voices rising from the tables to the long wooden bar in the back, all of which is decorated with antique touches from the 1940s.
The words “supper club” evoke images of exclusive underground settings where the experience goes well beyond the artfully curated menus. While Ginny’s Supper Club is underground—although in this case, the word means subterranean—the evening is focused on more than just delicious food. The friendly staff and inviting ambiance welcome all who care to experience a mix of historic and modern Harlem.
Order a cocktail—a boozy bourbon Negroni featuring a sweet fig and pear-infused bourbon helps match the sexy mood—and sink into your plush leather banquette, feasting your eyes on some of the city’s most mesmerizing jazz, blues, soul, and hip-hop performers on Thursdays and Saturdays. Dinner is also served on Fridays. The rest of the week brings private events and a regularly occurring Salon Series of artists, musicians, and actors for an intimate dinner and conversation with the public.
Ginny’s Supper Club also offers a special Sunday Gospel Brunch. Securing your space early means you’ll have a table reserved for you, even receiving a complimentary Vy Higgensen’s Gospel for Teens Choir CD to take home. A decadent buffet brunch is paired with the sounds from Higginsen’s Mama Foundation and her School of Gospel, Jazz and R&B Arts. It’s a true taste of Harlem culture you won’t want to miss.