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67 Orange to Open in Harlem...Pays Hommage to Almack's Dance Hall » the strong buzz, by andrea strong
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“67 Orange to Open in Harlem...Pays Hommage to Almack's Dance Hall”

I’d never heard of Almack’s Dance Hall until a few days ago, when I learned about it in connection with the opening of a new speakeasy-styled restaurant in Harlem called 67 Orange. Here’s a little history before we get to the new place opening December 4th:

Almack’s Dance Hall was opened by a fellow named Pete Williams back in the 1840’s in the shadow of slavery and a growing movement towards Prohibition. Despite the social trauma of that time, Williams managed to turn Almack’s into a vibrant cultural space for artists and musicians. Also known as “Pete Williams’ Place,” Almack’s was located in the rough and tumble Five Points neighborhood where it became home to a fusion of Irish reels and jigs with the African shuffle. The dance competitions between the two groups—a product of the mix of newly emancipated African Americans and newly arrived Irish—eventually gave rise to the term Tap Dance. Eventually the African American community moved to Manhattan’s West Side and to the then-undeveloped north of the island; what is today Harlem.

Now, over a century later, Karl Franz Williams (pictured below, who also owns Harlem’s Society Coffee, but is no relation to Pete) is opening 67 Orange in Harlem as an homage to Almack’s. Its name is taken from Almack’s last standing location, which was in Five Points at 67 Orange Street.

The restaurant and speakeasy, which seats 60, boasts exposed rustic wood and stone walls, iron handrails, Edison filament light bulbs, distressed vintage mirrors and floor-to-ceiling purple plush velvet curtains. There is also a private dining area for special events.

The cocktail menu by mixologist Kali Erwin is an extensive affair inspired by the cocktails of 19th and 20th centuries. There are over a dozen options including The Whiskey Bang (Balvenie Single Malt Scotch 10 year, Doc’s Hard Cider, Baronjager Honey Liqueur, and Ginger Beer), The Martine (Old Tom Gin, Dry Vermouth, Orange Bitters, Maraschino Cherry, Lemon Zest), The Upper Manhattan (Rittenhouse Bonded 100 Proof Rye Whisky, Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth, Angostura Bitters, Orange Bitters, Maraschino Syrup, Orange Peel ) and The Hibiscus Royale (Marquis De La Tour Brut, Edible Wild Hibiscus Flower, Raspberry & Rhubarb Syrup).

The menu, by a chef who according to the restaurant’s publicist “will remain forever a secret,” includes a raw bar and a crowd-pleasing array of bar bites like spicy popcorn with butter, garlic, cayenne and sea salt ($4), roasted chestnuts with celery salt ($4.50), deviled eggs with dijon mustard, dill and caviar ($5), stuffed olives with Marcona almonds and blue cheese ($3). Large plates include fish and chips—corn flake crusted cod with pumpkin chips and preserved lemon tartar sauce ($11), mini chicken drum sticks with spicy honey mustard dipping sauce ($9), buffalo sliders with ketchup aioli, mesclun, and red onion petals ($10) and crab salad with lemon zest and red pepper mayonnaise ($8.50).

67 Orange will open December 4th and is located at 2082 Frederick Douglass Boulevard between 112th and 113th Streets, no phone yet. Orange Street’s hours of operation are Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday from 6:00 PM to 2:00 AM and Friday and Saturday from 6:00 PM to 4:00 AM.

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