Sugar Monk–a new Harlem bar where the cocktails are almost too beautiful to drink–opens tonight

Updated: Mar 17, 2020


The owners of Sugar Monk were inspired by the Harlem Renaissance

Harlem has a swanky new cocktail bar, and its soft opening is tonight.

Serving up a menu of 30 craft cocktails, Sugar Monk at 2292 Frederick Douglass Boulevard is the brainchild of two artists, Simon Jutras and Ektoras Binikos (also a mixologist at the now-defunct 2nd Floor on Clinton). The partners were inspired by the nightclubs of the Harlem Renaissance, but have added a creative, modern twist.

The owners of Sugar Monk were inspired by the Harlem Renaissance

Just a few blocks from the Apollo, the bar feels straight out of E. Simms Campbell's famous map of 1930s Harlem–think plush velvet chairs and jungle-themed wallpaper paired with dark lighting and jazz. Here, though, yesteryear's cigarette haze has been replaced with something much more modern: the smoke of burning herbs such as rosemary.

Sugar Monk is a new bar in Harlem where the cocktails are almost too beautiful to drink

The drinks, too, are 21st century, made with what Sugar Monk refers to as modern alchemy. Its bartenders combine exotic ingredients–Singani 63, a Bolivian brandy, appears in the Blue Moon–then add exquisite details using state-of-the-art tools; a mini blow torch sets alight garnishes such as cinnamon sticks. Non-alcoholic cocktails, chilled with giant pieces of oblong ice and topped with thin discs carved from apples, get just as much attention.

It's a dream of Harlem both old and new, brought to life.

Photos: Sugar Monk

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