The outdoor bar series includes bars who are mainly inside but have a nice patio or sidewalk cafe that allows it to be an outdoor bar. Keeping that as a basic guideline I’m happy to recommend and highlight PrimeOne 16 at 2257 1st Avenue on the corner of 116th street in Spanish Harlem, East Harlem, or “El Barrio” but definitely not Spaha.
Prime Market is place to enjoy great food and cocktails in a relaxing but sexy atmosphere. The sidewalk section on the 116th street side sits several tables and is open to food and drink, make that libations because they have a serious drink menu. While I was sipping my $5 sangria for brunch on a Sunday, (we’ll get back to the specials later) I witnessed their star bartender mix one of their house cocktails like the Brazilian Martini. Its Leblon Cachaca, St Germain, a healthy dose of guava nectar and OJ. Whew it got my eyes sparkling and lips pecking outward like I had just applied lip balm. I was offered a small sample, and damn it was good!! What really blew me away was that this drink is only $10 which is quite reasonable.
Other standout cocktails include the Chiquita Picosa which is Jalapeno Tequila, passion fruit, raspberries and lime juice. I’m just a fan of fresh juices and nectars with cocktails, how drinks should be made. This is also reasonably priced at $12 because cheap drinks require lots of aspirin and coffee the next morning so make sure you as a consumer calculate that into your costs too.
The food is a good mix of stuff you would find on the streets of Spanish Harlem, like Argentinian Empanadas; to things with slight twists like Yucca Fries and Braised Guava-Chipotle Pork Shoulder (hey I like anything with tropical fruit in it even as a glaze or marinade) to new dishes like Shrimp and Avocado Cous Cous.
There is a lot of good cocktail specials and weekly events at PrimeOne 16. Every Tuesday and Thursday there is happy hour all day and night long. That’s 3 dollar bottled beers (and they only have bottled beers), $5 sangria’s and magarita’s and $25 pitchers; $7mojitos and capirinha’s and $35 pitchers. On Friday’s there is a live DJ for the after work and late night crowd, and the DJ comes back again on Sunday brunch.
One of my personal feelings that I remember and savor about Prime Market is that it is endrenched in Latin culture. This is a hip spot for El Barrio. The staff is diverse but the theme of the restaurant is that is actively part of El Barrio. For instance one of the bartenders was in an extended conversation in Spanish with a Latin customer and another bartender was busy engaging myself and others and everyone felt comfortable and was at ease.
This is not a gentrified spot, you know one where outsiders with their comforts and tastes come into a neighborhood and the folks in that neighborhood who have been there rarely visit but that isn’t this spot. It’s real Latin people and the base is latin, with folks from the neighborhood old and new visiting. Too many times I find the first scenario where we are to made to believe that this is fun when gentrifiers can’t mingle with the established neighborhood, you will find the old happily mingly and teaching the new about Spanish Harlem with great food, drinks and fun.
So there you have it a chill outdoor scene and great cocktails in area that you may not know but get to like very quickly.