Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, the soulful duo known for songwriting and performing a variety of hits since the mid-1960’s, started The Sugar Bar in 1996. Specifically, the lounge is called Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar. The venue is located at 254 W. 72nd St. on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Among a variety of events on the Sugar Bar’s roster is a Valentine’s Day event that features a prix fixe menu and live music.
Ashford & Simpson: a legacy of soul music
More than 50 years since the duo penned their first hits for some of the biggest names in music, Ashford & Simpson are synonymous with successful duos and music that people remember. Before they were the popular singing duo, the couple wrote songs for the likes of Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, 5th Dimension, Teddy Pendergrass and Aretha Franklin. Songs such as “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” “California Soul” and “I Don’t Need No Doctor” have worked their way through the history of popular music.
By the mid-1980s, Ashford & Simpson started using their voices to make their lyrics come alive. Their song “Solid” tends to outshine other songs in their catalog. It is arguably the duo’s best known song. The song’s chorus, includes the line “solid as a rock.” In the way that mega popular songs do, the song found its way onto “Saturday Night Live” as Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen portrayed former first lady and president, Michelle and Barack Obama. Humorously, the duo changed part of the chorus to “solid as Barack.” Ashford & Simpson re-recorded the song as “Solid As Barack” in 2009, to acknowledge their support of the president.
Ashford & Simpson have contributed significantly to modern soul music. In some ways they transcended the boundaries of music to become cultural icons.
Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar
The musical duo opened their soul food lounge in 1996. Sadly, Ashford passed away in 2011 of complications of throat cancer. But, The Sugar Bar endures under the direction of Simpson. The venue hosts birthday parties, marriages and even divorce parties. For the public, The Sugar Bar hosts open mic performances (for $10 cover charge on Thursday nights) and a constant menu of soul and Caribbean food.
This February, for Valentine’s Day, The Sugar Bar presents r&b singer Alyson Williams as host for the evening, and a three-course prix fixe dinner. For $80, patrons will get an evening of hits and food that earns good reviews across a number of sites. The evening is scheduled to begin at 9:30 p.m. and will last until 12:30 a.m.
Ashford & Simpson’s Sugar Bar is known for offering something different. Valentine’s Day seems a perfect opportunity to check out what the Upper West Side has to offer, if a person has not done so already.
For more information, or to simply check out what The Sugar Bar has to offer, visit here: http://www.sugarbarnyc.com