2271 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd
New York, NY 10030
Hours: 4p-4a Daily
Subway: B,2,3 to 135th St
Written by: Rachel Antonio Corner
Shrine is a live music venue, bar and restaurant known for years only to a hip cognoscenti due to the club’s decision to not advertise its name on the building’s façade, until recently.
The venue exhibits a lot of history for a place that has only been open since 2007. The West African artifacts and native tapestries are part of the owner’s roots, while the club’s decor belies a passion for western pop music. Album covers and vinyl records ranging from Diana Ross to the Beatles to Michael Jackson act as wallpaper, while the high ceiling is plastered with posters. Musically, the venue embraces music from around the world: jazz, rock, Afro-beat, reggae and more. Dancing is encouraged, wherever there is room, and after hours Shrine is a club with guest DJs.
Shrine’s owner, Abdel, explains how the venue came about: “The Shrine is a realization of a lifelong dream. Music has always been the focus of my life. I grew up in Burkina Faso surrounded by music; I moved to New York to work in music. The Shrine is my home. It’s everything I believe a live music venue should be. We are known for having one of the best PA systems in the city; we are also known for being a great place for musicians and music lovers to come together. I’m proud of that.”
The crowd is mixed and hails from all over the city. Young and old, glam and casual, Shrine is part of a newer Harlem where diversity is robust. The area is gentrified and non-locals are among the regulars.
In Abdel’s own words: “Harlem is the best neighborhood in New York! There’s been a lot of talk recently about a new Harlem Renaissance, but Harlem has always been a center of music and culture—the difference is that now downtown is taking notice! Harlem is one of the most diverse places in the world… celebrating the music, the neighborhood, life!”