This year’s Kwanzaa Crawl is expected to be even bigger than its previous two. After expanding to include Harlem just last year, the organizers behind the crawl — sisters Kerry Coddett and Krystal Stark— reached out to several businesses uptown to partake in their black business empowerment event.
More than 31 bars across Brooklyn and Harlem will be joining the crawl, many returning and some new additions. One of the new recruits is Cove Lounge — a Caribbean fusion restaurant and bar with a modern flair.
Having always celebrated the traditions of Kwanzaa, the restaurant is thrilled to take part in the bi-borough bar hop, said the lounge’s general manager.
“We are really excited about this especially being in Harlem, and one of our main things has always been trying to bring awareness to Kwanzaa,” said Billy Council.
He says he and his team wanted to take part in the crawl last year, but couldn’t due to other planning events. When the sisters invited the lounge again this year, Council said he could not miss the chance.
“Last year we were asked to get involved but we were committed to another event that same day and unable to commit,” said Council. “But they reached back to us to see if there was an opportunity for us to partner, and we said ‘We would love to.’”
With the popularity of other bar crawl events around the holiday season such as Santacon, Council says he fully supports the idea behind the Kwanzaa crawl and its mission to prioritize the holiday and black-owned businesses.
“I think it’s amazing, and I look at it as an interesting thing with our own little spin,” said Council. “This is especially important in the African American community, because we are supporting one another and supporting our culture.”
Also joining Cove Lounge in the Harlem-centric portion of the crawl are Harlem Hookah, Gin Fizz Harlem, Ruby’s Vintage, Shrine, and Lenox Saphire Harlem.
For the crawl, Council says the bar will be serving a special cocktail made in partnership with fellow uptown business — Harlem Haberdashery, and their usual entree menu with two new fusion additions.
Council hopes to see the crawl continue to expand throughout the neighborhood, and gains the attention of other local businesses as a series to participate in.
“For me it’s very important that we support each other and black business, one thing I want to see out of it, is to see this program grow to include all of Harlem, and to select bars,” he said.
Cove Lounge [325 Malcolm X Blvd. at W. 126th Street in Harlem, (212) 665-3455, www.coveloungenyc.com]. Open Sun., 3 pm–midnight, Tues-Thurs, 4 pm–midnight; Fri., 5 pm–4 am; Sat., 5 pm–4 am.
Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.