Live Music and Soul Food at Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar in NYC

Want some live music with your dinner and drinks? Come to Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar, an eatery established by the songwriting team behind “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” That’s to say, you know the music here is good. The late Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson were the married songwriting team who wrote Motown hits like “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” and “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing.” They also penned the disco hit “I’m Every Woman” for Chaka Khan. Their culinary venture, Sugar Bar, showcases the duo’s talent for great music and comfort food drawing from Caribbean, Cajun, and Southern cuisines. Read on for the music, food, drinks, and deals to expect at Sugar Bar, your Upper West Side oasis. 

Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar in NYC: Live Music 

Robert Silverman Quarter

The Robert Silverman Jazz Quartet will perform at Ashford & Simpson's Sugar Bar July 18.

The music is the star of the show at Sugar Bar. Sip a cocktail and relax into the R&B, blues, jazz, Caribbean, and traditional African music in the converted brownstone Sugar Bar calls home. The stage is set in the back of the house under a thatched roof that covers the ceiling. There are no bad seats! Tuesday nights are Nuttin But the Blues, a showcase of blues talents like Monte Croft (coming July 10 and 17) and Danielle Illario (every Tuesday from July 24 to August 28). Hear Electrikana, an R&B/jazz fusion act, on July 11 and 25. Thursdays are Open Mic Nights, featuring the Sugar Bar All Star Band to back up willing participants as they wow the crowd. Upcoming weekend acts include the 30th Street Blues Band (July 13), jazz guitarist Jason Abraham (July 14), R&B/jazz guitarist Joe Bonacci (July 20), and Alexander the Griot and Friends (July 21). When you come, keep your eyes peeled for a celeb in the crowd, as Sugar Bar tends to attract famous clientele. Cover charges are typically $10-15, and most shows begin at 8 pm. Check the calendar for more details. 

Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar in NYC: Eats

Ashford and Simpson's Sugar Bar interior

A little Cajun, a little Caribbean, a little soul, a lot delicious! Sugar Bar excels at Southern and Caribbean classics like catfish and collard greens. After some complimentary cornbread with strawberry butter (yum!), start your meal off right with the golden fried shrimp with buffalo or garlic sauce. For your main, our pick is the pork chop with jerk sauce and apple chutney; you can have your chop grilled, fried, or pan-seared (there are no wrong answers there!). The catfish and fried chicken are solid choices as well. All entrees give you two sides, one of which should definitely be the collard greens. For your other pick, go with rice and beans or mac ‘n cheese. At the bar only, Sugar Bar serves sandwiches like po boys and steak sandwiches. We’ll point you to the jerk turkey burger for a satisfying kick. Sugar’s desserts include red velvet cake and bread pudding (again, no wrong answers).

Sugar Bar also offers a $19.95 prix fixe menu. You’ll have a salad, choice of catfish meuniere or pan-seared chicken breast, a choice of two sides (cheddar mashed potatoes, collard greens, rice and beans, or steamed vegetables), and bread pudding to top it all off.

Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar in NYC: Drinks & Deals


Let the bartender take your intimate concert up a notch with a drink at Sugar Bar. There are beer and wine options, as well as cocktails like the Sugartini with vodka and lots of sweet, pucker-y peach. For a taste of the Caribbean, have the Rummer Zip with vodka, coconut rum, pineapple juice, and a little grenadine.

Happy Hour is Tuesday to Friday from 5 to 8pm. Relish $5 beer, $6 cocktails, and $7 wines. There are also combo deals, with $10 for a drink and a dish: either sliders or chicken wings. 

Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar is located at 254 W. 72nd St. Call 212-579-0222 or visit

About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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