The Shrine Offers an Eclectic Music Venue in Harlem

The Shrine Offers an Eclectic Music Venue in Harlem

It isn’t really clear who founded The Shrine, but legend has it that a creative and music-loving community opened this diverse bar and music venue. What better neighborhood warrants those attributes more than the lively Harlem? The Shrine is not flashy by nature, as it can easily go under the radar as you walk by the establishment. Its sign bares large bold letters, proclaiming it the “Black United Fun Plaza”—and boy, is it fun!

The Shrine is by far one of the most eclectic and diverse venues in NYC.  It's a home to music addicts with a lot of soul. With its wide range of music styles filling the place from wall to wall every night, the vibe is clear: this place is all-encompassing. During my visit, the evening shifted smoothly from a Latin American experimental duo playing trippy tunes, to a hard-hitting classic rock band, to a psychedelic funk band, and ended with a marvelous jazzy-reggae quartet. It's obvious that The Shrine's patrons come for casual hangouts, great melodies and good times.

There were many things that I loved about The Shrine. Among them is its wild drink selection. This venue offers Caribbean cocktails with a twist. My guests and I fell in love with the venue’s strong-biting Afro Trip—a combination of Jamaican Rum (there was also the option to replace this with Brazilian Rum, but the waitress defined it as the “lighter” of the two), fresh limejuice and ginger beer. The drink’s potency caught us off guard at the first taste; but as we continued to sip, the drink somehow became softer, sweeter and tastier as it slipped into a beautiful boozy island symphony. We moved on to the shooters, which were only $5 apiece when you order more than one at a time, and trust me, you’ll want more than one! My shooter went by the name of the Meztada and was desert-like, as it consisted of Sambuca and Baileys Irish Cream.

After a few cocktails and shooters, we were in the right mindset to lose ourselves into the dancing, into the fun-having folks around us, and into the great ambiance that the last band, Fish House Road, created.  Fish House Road were great crowd-pleasers, as they brought fresh rhythmic beats that fired-up the crowd into a dancing frenzy. What started off as casual drinks with a view of the stage from our table quickly escalated into a standing and heated show with an enchanted audience. The dynamic bunch ranged dramatically in age, race, niche, and well, you name it!

Needless to say, I was taken aback by this location’s flawless ability to bring people together in a really embracing way while keeping true to Harlem’s roots and culture. It perfectly depicts the amazing range only a city such as this one could offer. I hope to see more of this trend bloom throughout the boroughs, but, in the meantime, The Shrine will surely be seeing more of me.

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