Best Of

Best Clash of Cultures


In a neighborhood of contrasts, sometimes uncomfortable ones, Silvana offers plenty: An upper-level coffee shop adorned with handmade home goods and jewelry for sale boasts an Israeli menu in the heart of Harlem (one owner hails from near Tel Aviv; her husband and co-owner is from Burkina Faso), above the thumping of the space’s dimly lit basement bar. Come here for coffee and shakshuka, but stay for the smoky lounge downstairs, home to a small stage that hosts live music acts nearly every night. Funky black men and women clad in garishly colored bell-bottoms, their Afros picked to perfection, dance freely on silent reruns of Soul Train playing on televisions above the bar. On a typical night, you’ll find new and veteran Harlem residents, young and old, commingling for better or worse: bodies tucked into corners smoking hookah, heads nodding to the beat of live jazz or reggae. If you’re lucky, a jam session will keep you on your feet until the wee hours of the morning. Here, the contrasts are prominent, but they don’t seem to clash. Brooklyn could learn a thing or two. 

300 West 116th Street, Manhattan