Last night Carlos and I walked a few blocks at dusk to Nectar (2235 Frederick Douglass Blvd.), the new and only wine bar in Harlem. Having passed it a few times on my way to Harlem Vintage (same owners) next door, I was both titilated by a wine bar so close to home and skeptical, wondering how anyone could possibly construct an inviting environment inside one of those new-fab store fronts popping up (and still unoccupied) all over uptown.
The interior appropriately dark at that hour, I hadn’t seen the crowd inside when peering in through the glass. A couple of days before the 4th, the bar was full, as were many of the tables; and though this fullness didn’t last throughout the night, there was a flow of traffic representing a slice of the neighborhood, recently dubbed SOHA by a real estate mogul, no doubt.
The U-shaped bar and tables sit beneath a futuristic drop ceiling that swoops and swerves like a hang glider’s wings, and is broken up with chocolate colored wood panels suspended from the ceiling at various heights. This aviatic theme continues along the bar wall with multi-colored photographs of aerial sights. And though Nectar doesn’t offer flights of wine, there are 2 ounce tastings available for a price.
As the crowed waxed and waned, I contemplated the coziness of the space, which at times seemed hardened by the industrial gray floor. Our waitress Beth was lovely as was the music that played through the night–a wise choice, as I imagine no matter where you are, Coltrane will always set the mood right.
While not expansive, the wine list offered sparkling wines (Cava, Champagne, and Napa Valley Brut) by the bottle and glass. An interesting selection of whites included Prinz Von Hesser (2005), Grechetto, and a chardonnay for an affordable $6 a glass. Eleven reds were available for a single pour, but since I was so focused on ordering something to drink that night, I didn’t give them the once over twice (oops!). Finally, we opted for one of the two rosés–Edmunds St. John Bone-Jolly Gamay, from El Dorado County which has a festive label and was thankfully accurately described. Deep pink and full of strawberries and rich minerals on the nose and palate, followed by a touch of spice. Once the wine warmed a bit, it was a sensual delight.
[Where: 2235 Frederick Douglass Blvd., New York, NY 10027]