400 TAVERN, Sugar Hill

Tucked away at #400 West 148th Street off St. Nicholas Avenue is a bit of New York City music history. The 400 Tavern operated at this address from the 1940s through the 1970s. Jimmy Ricks (1924-1974) and Warren Suttles formed the Ravens, a pioneering R&B harmony group at the club, after Ricks had a stint waiting tables. The Ravens performed at all the major clubs in Harlem including Club Baron, Club Baby Grand and the Apollo, and scored big hit in the NYC area with “Green Eyes” in 1955. Ricks scored some solo hits in the 1960s.


Though the 400 Tavern closed decades ago, its old space remains on the ground floor of a corner apartment building and even more miraculously, its old neon sign is still there. If you look closely you can see the space where the word “Tavern” used to be.

Info from Rock and Roll Explorer Guide to New York City, Mike Katz and Crispin Kott (Globe Pequot 2018)

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”


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2 Responses to 400 TAVERN, Sugar Hill

  1. CG Todaro says:

    Hi Kevin,
    Excellent post. I did not know this location was significant but I immediately recognized the 400 sign. Years back, to the left of that apartment building entrance was a mysterious looking shanty. It had a padlocked center door and newspaper covered the window. It was very crude in design made from wood. It resembled some kind of makeshift workshop or storefront, added to the building’s facade. It is gone now, but you may see a photo I took of it here: https://instagram.com/p/BCj2eYNDsnj/

  2. Mike Katz says:

    Thanks for the shout-out!

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