4.5 star rating: Recommended 100 Reviews

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  • Location: New York City, New York
  • Duration:  5 hours (approx.)

Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the Harlem Soul Food and Jazz Evening Tour. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.

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Susan B
United Kingdom

4 star rating: Recommended
December 2007

We had a great guide who was knowledgeable about the area. The food was really good with a friendly wait staff. The Cotton club was not what I had imagined, but it was a great night out all the same.

3 star rating: Worth doing
December 2014

Enjoyed the Jazz Club experience but thought the food was not up to standard

3 star rating: Worth doing
September 2013

The tour guide was very informative, punctual, assertive, take-charge and get it done lady, but she was partial towards the French tourists ( all money is the same so I expected similar, friendly treatment). She was more engaging in conversation and conspicuously attentive to the French tourists. She never introduced herself or stated her name (I realize it was busy and she was rushed for time, but that was a harmless but unprofessional oversight). The tourists want to be engaged in every aspect of the excitement and the journey is just as important as the destination. My sisters and I did appreciate the specific route drop-offs at the end of the tour.
Two drinks were included but if you did not drink alcohol the choices were limited. The place chosen for the Jazz exhibition was small, cramped and had a grade letter of from the Department of Health of New York (the sign was tucked behind a door with bars and you wouldn't notice it unless you were looking intently and closely) "pending" because of sanitation issues. It would have been nice to have visited at least two jazz clubs. The Soul food served at Sylvia's was overall good, but not memorable. The potato salad was too mushy and the ribs were acceptable, but not tender fall off the bone succulent and juicy southern ribs. This tour needs some work for the price charged to tourists. It really needs to broaden its horizons and stepped it up from 10 to 100.

Donna L
Australia

3 star rating: Worth doing
August 2013

Travelling through Harlem was interesting. Food at Sylvias was really good. Jazz musician place was small and nothing at all like the photo. we left the Jazz session early as it wasn't really our kind of Jazz music. the musicians seemed to be playing different tunes instead of playing together. Do this tour to see harlem and taste really good fried chicken.

3 star rating: Worth doing
July 2013

A lot of fun, but the club was a bit daggy, lacked atmosphere, maybe because it was early in the week, the tour guide was very good.

3 star rating: Worth doing
September 2012

The food was average the Cotten Club was awsome the club was well worth going to.

3 star rating: Worth doing
August 2012

The cotton club was fantastic but did not enjoy the food at sylvias, we were put into a side room away from the others and our group was all sat in a row, the food was not very nice.

3 star rating: Worth doing
October 2011

Bus tour guide was excellent. Soul food was okay but a bit hurried because we had to be at the club. Music was great but we were all put in a side area so felt a bit out of it. Only go if you really like the music.

Anonymous

Anonymous

3 star rating: Worth doing
May 2011

It was not entirely bad , the show at the cotton club is really bad but that night there was an amateur dancer who was extraordinary and that rose the level several stars but it was mere coincidence. The wine was horrible and in the restaurant that was very nice the food was just correct.

3 star rating: Worth doing
February 2011

When we got to the place, everybody spoke French. It would have been nice if they mentioned that the tour was by a French owned company. Nevertheless it was an ok tour, we saw parts of Harlem, didn't much enjoy the soul food place sylvia's. And the cotton club was ok.

3 star rating: Worth doing
October 2010

The guide was informative and friendly. The food was pretty ordinary, perhaps 'cause serving a crowd. It was a delight to visit the cotton club. But saddening to see it is just for tourists and the seating unbearably hard.

Lucia D
Virgin Islands-British

3 star rating: Worth doing
July 2010

This tour presents a pleasant variety to any vacation plan. Sylvia's Soul Food was good, but I really enjoyed the music and dancing at the Cotton Club. I wished that we could have gone into the Apollo Theater, and made a couple other stops, but the focus of the trip was well met.

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
August 2014

Our tour guide was excellent. She was very knowledgable, making the evening as enjoyable as possible but I would have preferred to have been in the midst of the diners at the restaurant instead of being off in a seemingly separate room. This would have given more authenticity to the evening as the focus for me was the food and the people. We just got the food. As for the nightclub, it was a disappointment too because it was a long skinny room and again lacked atmosphere. The Apollo would have been much better I think.

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
July 2014

music was good food ?

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
April 2014

It was an ok tour. We are from the US and the two things we did (dinner at sylvia's and the jazz bar) we could have easily done ourselves and been so much cheaper. On the tour were alot of foreigners that I'm sure are afraid to go into Harlem on their own. We just felt out of place.

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
January 2014

Very disappointing and would not recommend it to anyone.
The food at Sylvias was very disappointing and New York friends have since told us since that it is no longer rated and there are a couple of other much more highly rated restaurants.
The jazz bar our guide took us to was horribly disappointing - we could see the singers properly and after an hour (before I had finished my first drink) we were wisked away becuase someone else wanted our seats! We didn't go to another jazz bar which was the whole point of going on the tour.
The tour around Harlem to fill in time before we were dropped back to our hotels was very interesting - by far and away the best and most informative part of the night.

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
December 2013

We arrived at the address , and the group waited outdoors- there was no instruction on how to buzz to enter the building - that could have been clearer on the voucher. The guide was informative - driving around at night to tour makes things harder to see and because it was cold we did not make many stops enroute. The food at Sylvia's was ok - chicken, ribs were good; fish not. The "club" we went to was my disappointment - I was expecting something like the picture - it was a small old space, and my son and I had a laugh - we are in harlem to hear the music and the band is a 3 piece- 2 white men and one Asian woman- however, to be fair they were talented musicians. I did not think it was worth the $150 price tag.

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
July 2013

Host was great and tour was fascinating. However Cotton Club was closed, so we detoured to another venue. We expected a jazz band but the performer was a piano soloist who did not do many jazz numbers. Particularly upset as this was a surprise for my partner and tour was not what was advertised.

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
November 2012

The tour was at night and it was difficult to see anything clearly due to the darkness. The tour guide was knowledgeable. and friendly We felt rushed with dinner but the food was great. The jazz club was fantastic and we stayed at this venue because we wanted to enjoy the music instead of rushing to another place. I felt the cost was bit high as well.

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
December 2011

A very ordinary experience, the soul food dinner was poor, the show was ok except the seats the tour have where at the back and had no view of the stage. We moved seats to get a view of the band which was the best part of the evening.

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
December 2010

ok but not alot of time in club also entertainment was very poor

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
January 2010

Food was nice and jazz was good, but overall probably not worth that much money. Tour guide was OK, not great as he was distracted by talking to one tour participant in a language she was studying. We were the only people at the club, which was a shame as it lacked atmosphere. Also we did not go to the Cotton Club, which was disapointing.

Andy J
United Kingdom

2 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better
September 2009

The evening was good, but it was spoilt by the meal that did not live up to our expectations. If you like lots of overcooked chicken and fish then fine, but frankly given it was supposed to be the home of soul food in Harlem it would have been more fresh from KFC! The tour was OK, but no one could see out of the front of the bus, so much of what was described could not be seen. Finally, I think only about 20 of the group were actually dropped at the point they requested on Broadway as the guide and driver seemed more intent on getting rid of us and squeezing us for a tip.

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
September 2014

Guide good.soul food dreadful tasted better kfc.cotton club smells unpleasant

1 star rating: I do not recommend this
June 2012

Not impressed - at all. It started out that the tour company did not have all of our paid party on their roster, they tried to blame Viator, luckily I still had the confirmation email on my phone to prove that I had paid for the four of us. Bus driver was MIA, we had to walk a couple blocks to get to the bus. The soul food restaurant was lousy, I'm from the south and this is not soul food, very meager portions. Cotton Club was great but only a dozen people were there on a Saturday night, it was kind of sad. While I appreciated that the guide spoke French and that was helpful to some of the guests, he seemed to have forgotten that some of us poke English. No big deal to us as we knew more about the city than he did. Don't waste your money or your time. Go to the Cotton Club on your own, it is worth the experience.

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Tour code: 3453T4

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