2, 3 at 135th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
A throwback to the halcyon days of long-ago jazz, when Billie Holiday ruled the airwaves and sports bars were called speakeasies, Bill’s Place has been built to cater to nostalgia for an era of Harlem history that few alive have ever actually experienced. But unlike other, more questionable “tributes” to vanished Americana, Bill’s Place has an air about it of intelligence and authenticity that’s impossible to ignore. The place itself, located on the entire ground floor of a brownstone, is made to feel like a cozy living-room with old black-and-white photos on plain walls, low-lighting, and comfortable furniture. It’s a BYOB policy, so kick back, pack your favorite bottle of Johnny Walker and watch Bill Saxton -- the legendary jazz saxophonist and resident namesake -- and his band play every Friday night for a fraction of what you’d pay midtown at Birdland.
No drinks are served, but BYOB and get as happy as you want to be.
Picnics with a view, roller-skating nostalgia, and a party for gay headbangers.