Founded by saxophonist Henry Minton in 1938, the club is located at 210 West 118th Street, on the Cecil Hotel’s ground floor, in Harlem. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, the club was one of the hottest places in town, the birthplace of BEBOP, and a veritable mecca for jazz lovers. Legends like Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Thelonius Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and Kenny Clarke graced the stage of the club in those days, and it became so popular that even Charles Mingus had to audition to get on stage.
However, it wasn’t all fun and games for The Cecil Steakhouse/Minton’s Playhouse. In the 1960s, jazz bands lost some of their popularity, and the venue suffered, eventually closing in 1974. Three decades later, it was time for a revival, and the club reopened in 2006; the Uptown Lounge at Minton’s Playhouse, as it was called, didn’t succeed as planned, and it was closed again in 2010. Then, in 2017, the club returned to its roots and reopened once again, and currently features upscale cuisine by executive chef Elpidio Escamilla.
Owners Raphael Benavides Baccus and Richard Parsons have collaborated together to bring back to Harlem a place where history was once made, and where still is.
Bringing together our community into one big happy family that loves Great Food, Jazz, Music & Arts.
LIVE THE EXPERIENCE
People often ask, ‘Should I have dinner at Minton Playhouse or The Cecil Steakhouse?’ While we encourage our patrons to try whichever establishment they are most drawn to – the truth is that if you are looking to enjoy a full, fun, one of a kind experience, then the answer is to spend your evening in both.
Combining the Minton’s Playhouse and The Cecil Steakhouse is about bringing together two unique experiences to create something that you’re not going to find anywhere else. Let us paint a picture for you, of the perfect experience for you, your friends, your family, your date, your significant other.
Let The Experience Begin
Begin your night at the Lounge in The Cecil’s Steakhouse. Located directly at the entrance, you will be greeted by a Piano Bar, live music, and cocktails. The lounge is the best way to start the night, with an ambiance that is upbeat, energetic, light-hearted, and lively. It is the perfect way to put you and your party in the right mood. It has been described as a place where you feel that you can relax and truly let loose. With the music playing and the drinks flowing, you’ll be prepared for the fun, sensual evening to come.
When you move into The Cecil Steakhouse for dinner, you will quickly realize that The Cecil is not your grandfather’s steakhouse. The steakhouse is a modern, upscale haven in Harlem. Nobody is snobby here, you will not find the traditional stuck-up attitude that so many steakhouses have fallen victim to. The Cecil Steakhouse is about fully engaging the five senses. You will be in our warm dining room that houses a modern décor of paintings and sculptures by world-renowned artists. You will hear music that will keep the energy and fun from the lounge going – jazz, R&B, salsa, contemporary and more. When your food and drinks arrive you will taste and smell the food that has been described as “outstanding, and inventive”, as “flavor combinations that are hard to find elsewhere” by Zagat and so many others. An unmatched dining experience that you and your party will never forget. The Cecil Steakhouse is an orgasm for the all the senses.
After you’ve finished dinner, if you’ve requested, you will be brought over to Minton’s Playhouse in a fashion that can only be described as a Goodfellas Moment straight out of the Martin Scorsese movie. To get to Minton’s from The Cecil Steakhouse, you never have to step a foot outside. You will be going through our kitchen, through a privileged area, reserved for those who want the full Cecil and Minton’s experience. As you are guided through the bustle of the kitchen, you will feel that you are truly being transported from the present, our modern steakhouse, to another era – to the most iconic and oldest jazz club in the United States.
When the doors to the Minton’s Playhouse open, you and your guests will be seated in a space already reserved for you – Since you already had dinner and drinks at The Cecil there will be no minimum drink fees, no additional charges, just the music fee, as we have to take care of our amazing musicians.
Minton’s Playhouse will bring you to the 40s and 50s with its unique design, lighting, ambiance and music. The walls are adorned with portraits of all the jazz greats who have raised the Minton’s stage: Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and so many more. The energy and spirit of the Playhouse are a unique and a perfect way to continue your already festive evening. Minton’s Playhouse is home to only the exceptional musicians who will sweep you away with outstanding performances. The highest quality music with the highest quality service and drinks in a fun, one of a kind establishment.
The Cecil Steakhouse and Minton’s Playhouse are each remarkable and memorable in their own way but together they will give you and your party an experience they will never, ever forget.