A great gathering place in the Harmonie Park area, Grand Central Lounge is a one shop stop for all your weekend needs. Live shows? They’ve got it. DJs spinning hot hip-hop and R&B tracks? Check. Food and drink? Yes and yes.
A classy lounge with a SoHo feel, this happening hot spot showcases a sophisticated urban vibe with themed nights centered around fashion and the latest styles and trends. Clubbers are asked to dress to impress for one-off events like High Maintenance and regular promotions like its High Status Thursday nights.
Girls typically outnumber the guys, says General Manger Shawn Bumphers.
No athletic wear. With spring lookin’ like it’s here to stay, the majority of ladies are usually decked out it in dresses while guys wear jeans and nice shirts.
Get cozy in a blue-and-white striped booth as glass enclosed candles illuminate the terra cotta-colored floor tiles, blue walls and café tables in the bar area. The location below street level creates a basement-like feel that’s softened by orange lighting along the walls.
Head for the well-worn wooden dance floor to get your groove on or reserve one of four beige couches near the second bar for a homey feel. Recessed lighting above the blue-cloth draped sofas create a warm glow against the painted blue walls, and a blue back-lit area draws your eye back towards the VIP area which features a round bed with pillows, leather benches and a seven-foot mirror with antique accents.
“I like the space in the club,” says Brian Williams of Detroit. “I like how they have multiple bars so you don’t always have to wait at one bar to have a drink.”
Just before midnight, self-consciousness disappears and dancers take to the floor creating a sea of sweat and bodies. Be prepared to get up close and personal with strangers as bodies collide. You’ll find it’s easier to go around the main black marble, wrap-around bar to get from one side of the dance floor to the other.
“On a scale of one to 10, I give it an eight,” Williams says of the two-story club. “It has a pretty nice set up. I would come here again.”
Pick me up
Take your pick from the GCL Relaxer (Smirnoff vodka, Malibu rum, peach schnapps, cranberry and orange juice), the Grand Central Sunset (layered with rum, pineapple juice and grenadine) or the GCL French Kamikaze Martini (Absolute 100 vodka, Chambord, triple sec and Rose's lime juice with a splash of sweet and sour mix garnished with a lime wedge).
This laid-back lounge also has two full bars and a $3 menu - but don’t let the fast-food connotation fool you. Chefs in the full kitchen serve up a mix of southern offerings and bar food, including quesadillas, catfish po’boys, shrimp eggrolls and sliders. The regular-priced menu features a variety of salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, catfish beignets (boneless, skinless strips of catfish dipped in Cajun-inspired corn meal) and petite quiche.
GCL's house DJ Bee keeps things live with a mix of hip-hop and R&B. Two flat-screen TVs above the bar and another two larger wall-mounted televisions blast sports or music videos. The exposed brick stairway near the kitchen leads to a music venue on the second floor which has seen the likes of Dwele, Jazzy Jeff, Eric Benet and Philly soul singer Jaguar Wright.