Photo credit: Sabrina Thompson/ KUU Productions
Three visionary HBCU graduates, Kevin Bradford (Hampton University), Kim Harris (Clark Atlanta University), and Stacey Lee (Clark Atlanta University) officially opened the doors to “Harlem Hops” on June 9th. The venue is the first 100% Black-owned craft beer bar in Harlem.
The idea for “Harlem Hops” came about as Harris and Bradford, aspiring entrepreneurs and beer lovers, noticed a lack of establishments to get quality beer in their Harlem neighborhoods. After learning about residential vs. commercial zoning limitations, the pair soon brought in already accomplished entrepreneur Lee to round out their partnership and provide creative insight into making their dream a reality.
Reflecting on the lessons and preparation that each of them contribute to their HBCU experiences, Lee told the Undefeated: “I think HBCUs taught us about humility, taught us about drive and it’s also very nurturing attending an HBCU. They have the mentality that you can do anything that you want to do. This started out as a dream with no money, no dollars and here we are about to open the first 100 percent all African American owned craft beer bar in Harlem. If you don’t have the money, find a way or make one."
"Harlem Hops" will serve a variety of craft beers and will also seek out opportunities to showcase the products of beer brewers of color. "There's not a lot out there, but there are people of color that are very knowledgeable about beer that just haven't had the opportunity or the funding to push their products," shared Bradford.
Once various brewers of color obtain distribution in New York areas, the new establishment will be more than happy to feature and to raise community awareness of their products.
“We want Harlem Hops to be Cheers for a lot of people in the neighborhood,” Harris said. “We want it to be the safe haven where you can just come and learn about something different."
Harris added: "We want to be prominent figures in the neighborhood. For the little kids walking back and forth down the street, letting them see people like themselves in businesses, letting them know we went to HBCUs and in the future, we will be offering scholarships to them so that they can attend HBCUs as well."
"Harlem Hops" is located at 2268 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.