Oh boy, I love what I do and to be able to share it with you on a weekly basis is a boon! Yes, I am often invited to come taste some food and drink and talk shop with various food makers, chefs and business owners, but on this occasion, I was invited to also paint. Well okay! Let’s see what I got…
I rolled up to one of the freshmen businesses on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, Paint N Pour (@paintnpourinc, 2080 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, 212-203-4361, paintnpournyc.com) channelling my best Derrick Adams, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Kehinde Wiley and Makeeba Rainey. I was ready for the magic.
I was greeted at the door by a cheerful host and guided past the neon bar and some of the studios monikered with names of the greats—Basquiat, Biggie—in route to the Beyoncé studio. There, two long communal tables were dressed with table top easels and canvases, individual palettes of paint and brushes as a mural of Queen Bey looked on.
I found a spot to take it all in, as the music blasted. I quickly smocked up and our server came to take our drink order as part of the two-hour, $45 per person, open bar package. After a quick review, I settled on the Picasso Punch and readied myself for instruction by the fun, engaging and spirited instructor.
On deck for the class was a sunset mountain-scape that began with making a beautiful dark rainbow night sky and water then “Bob Ross”ing mountains and trees on top. It might have been the Picasso Punch, but I wanted to be different and make it more personal for me. Without missing a beat, the instructor asked me some questions and presented me some samples of what is possible. Abstract face it would be!
Paint N Pour was created by owners and couple Tinesha Sharpe and Tyson Belgrave after taking a similar class for a date night out. Frustrated by having to eat and drink separately from taking the fun class, they believed they could do it better and Paint N Pour Harlem was born.
The couple took the large multilevel space which sat dormant for years and turned it into a colourful, lively space filled with iconic imagery, quotes from their favorite hip-hop artists, graffiti and a whole mess of creative joy. Classes sell out quickly, especially their weekend brunch classes, with a brunch menu, in the large patio space downstairs.
I did mention food, right?! Paint N Pour’s American fare menu are small plates only to inspire your creative juices without being all in the way of your art. Think Cher’s character in “Mermaids” who only made cocktail foods and small bites. That is the spirit of their menu.
While I was interested in their jerk chicken empanadas and Picasso tacos with teriyaki chicken ($10 each), I tried their buffalo cauliflower ($8) of fried cauliflower tossed in house made barbeque sauce and the shrimp po’ boy sliders ($11). While I would like the cauliflower to be less sweet, both were delicious and consumed.
Two hours later, a little tipsy from my one cocktail (also too sweet for my taste), with the help of the instructor, I walked out with my abstract painting of me and my two pups and a new spot to go and refer. First dates, birthday parties, team building or just a Tuesday night hungry and creative moment, Paint N Pour has you covered.
Good work crew! Thank you for another unique moment in Harlem!
Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for over 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!