The Den Returns to the Harlem Scene


New home of the Den (Joseph Riley Land)

By: joseph riley land

The DEN isn’t dead after all. Remember last May when they closed the doors and told us they would be back, new and improved, by the end of the summer – and then it did not happen? Well, I spoke with Jack Correia, owner of The DEN, this afternoon and he tells me that things just got a little off track. The restaurant, which is being relocated from their old location on 5th Avenue and 132nd, will soon reside in what is quickly becoming a hot spot in South Central Harlem: Lenox Avenue between 119th and 120th Streets. Just across the street from Settepani, two doors down from Il Caffe Latte, and diagonally situated from the soon-to-be oneBAR, The DEN will soon find itself nestled into one of the coziest blocks north of Central Park.

According to Correia, plans have been delayed due to a decision to rethink the design of the space. Rather than just recreating the old DEN in the space, they have worked with renowned architect, Kevin Bergen, who has worked with clients such as Leonardo DeCaprio and Giorgio Armani. “We wanted to create a space that makes you want to come back. Yes, great food is important, but an inviting atmosphere is just as important,” Corriea explains. “When The DEN first opened, we were the ‘uptown king of the downtown scene,’ but now we have more competition from places like MOJO, Hudson River Café, 67 Orange Street: we had to step our game up so we don’t get left behind.”

When The DEN opens – Correia says it will probably be mid-spring. Old favorites (like the What Had Happened Was…, the soul sushi rolls, the open mic night with Jaiden and KimberlyNichole) will still be around. They are, however, adding a lunch menu, more live performances, hotter guest DJs, and a renewed dedication to providing quality service.

In the meantime, Correia says he is getting daily correspondence from former customers on The DEN’s facebook page, twitter account and via email. “Everyone wants to know when we’re reopening, he says. “And that’s a good thing.”

Follow The DEN’s progress on twitter @thedenharlem.


3 thoughts on “The Den Returns to the Harlem Scene

  1. In response to LovingLenox, here is a partial answer:

    The language of the New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control Law prohibits certain licences from being issued if the establishment is on the same street and within 200 feet of a building being “used exclusively as a school, church, synagogue or other place of worship…”. To the extent that many churches in Harlem are not used “exclusively” as churches, but also serve other secular functions, these other functions may suffice to permit the issuance of a license.

    In addition, exceptions to the rule exist, including, for example, that licences that were issued to an establishment operating in a certain location prior to when a building within 200 feet first began to be used as a church/school, such establishments may continue to renew their licences.

    Also, the statute allows a licensee to move a licensed premises that has an exception to another location within 200 feet of the school/church, as long as the new location is not closer than the old location. While this is generally interpreted to mean that the licensed premises may move to a new location within 200 feet of the same school/church, it may be argued that the statute permits the licensee to move to within 200 feet of another school/church as well, since once the original establishment is moved, no further licences may be issued at that location.

  2. This Harlem Law about not being able to serve or sellalcohol within 200′ or 100′ or whatever it is….of a Church & School has often been noted as the reason Lenox Ave can never develop (too many churches & schools on that block). However The Den formerly was located adjacent to a church and shared a same wall/structure with a Church. And I know OneBar (formerly the Caviar place) is directly across the street and within the “No Sell Alcohol Zone” of that big church on the corner, and I am willing to bet the new location of The Den is within the Zoning “No Can Do” distance.

    What’s the deal? Is that law and that often used excuse valid? How do these business seem to get around that law? Curious because it’s been a heavily used excuse, and by the looks of it, business sell alcohol within 75′ of a church/school with no problem in Harlem. Again, the Den used to be next door sharing the same wall with a Church…

Comments are closed.