Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Sweet New York Scene



There's nothing I love to explore more on a trip than music, history and food. Combine all of them together and you have my dream of a perfect destination, where there's really no reason to leave. That's how I felt when I slipped into the dimly lit, thatched roof room of Ashford & Simpson's
Sugar Bar.
Nestled on a non-descript street on New York's Upper West Side,the place literally glows with energy.



Bamboo, forged brass and walls washed in amber and deep cinnamon provide the backdrop for non-stop sensory stimulation. The narrow space is always crowded but Thursday nights are when Sugar Bar really jumps with an unbelievable open mic. The menu filled with creole and Caribbean delights is only the opening act. I ordered red snapper with plantains and greens, which I vaguely remember as well seasoned. My focus was not on my food because I was surrounded by such an engaging parade of artists. At the table next to me was the noted jazz flautist Bobbi Humphrey, whose played with Duke Ellington and George Benson, her flute perched delicately on the table beside her. Behind me was legendary Vogue columnist Andre Leon Talley and at the bar sat a character in a carnival mask and cat suit, commenting loudly on every performer taking the stage.



The stage of course, was the center of all the action. The band plays tight and funky and anyone from Stevie Wonder, to Patti LaBelle and Queen Latifah have been known to take the mic. As legendary Motown and R&B singer/songwriters who penned classics like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" and "You're All I Need To Get By," Ashford & Simpson draw a range of legends and professional singers to Sugar Bar. I didn't recognize anyone famous singing the night I was there but with Valerie Simpson singing background, everybody sounded like a star. Ensconced in the upstairs Cat Lounge, with Nick Ashford sprawled at the center table, I felt like I was lost in a soulful wonderland with no need to find my way home.

10 comments:

Tiffany,Ebony Intuition said...

Nice place.

marina villatoro said...

what a great place. I love to discover new spots. I'll be in NY in 6 weeks and think will check this place out!!!!!

Fly Girl said...

Tiffany, it's a fabulous place!

Marina, lucky you! I definitely recommend dropping by on Thursday night.

Footsteps said...

Sounds like a terrific spot!

A Cuban In London said...

Marvellous post and since New York is THE city I must visit before I die I have made a mental note of this place. It's funny that it comes alive on Thursday when it's not even weekend yet. Thanks for this lovely article. Oh, yes, food, music and history. Mixed together. Consume slowly. And shake well once inside you.

Greetings from London.

Fly Girl said...

Heather, it's a great place for photos.

Cubano, why do you make even the most mundane things sound sensual? I supose it's either the Cuban part of you or the scorpio part.

Jackie said...

Going to the Sugar Bar is always a treat. You get great entertainment for $10 and the food is very good.

Fly Girl said...

Jackie, I don't even remember paying $10, all I remember is an unbelievable time. THanks for dropping by.

HereBeDragons said...

So cute! Definately worth a visit.

Fly Girl said...

Jen, I highly recommend it!