North Philadelphia's New Barber's Hall has served as community staple for 45 years

Tamala Edwards Image
Thursday, August 25, 2022
North Philly business has served as community staple for 45 years
August is Black Business Month, and Jake Adams' North Philadelphia business has been a staple in the community for nearly 45 years.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Jake Adams is a self-described "people person" and his patrons know him.

After retiring, he purchased a longstanding meeting place in North Philadelphia.

"This used to be The Black Barber's Social Club," said Adams.

He renamed it the New Barber's Hall.

"It's always been a restaurant, bar," said Adams. "From the very beginning, I had live music."

Adams said back in the day, the jazz scene was happening.

He said Bootsie Barnes and Dottie Smith, a jazz vocalist, used to play there. Philadelphia was full of musical talent.

Adams said a lot of acts came in when they were just starting out, like Patti LaBelle when she was with the Bluebelles.

"Billy Paul came in here constantly. He even wanted me to sing, Me and Mrs. Jones," said Adams.

Adams still offers live music on Sunday nights, with an open mic.

"We're open to the public. Those that can sing can sing," he said. "It's like some of everything. You never know who's coming."

On Wednesdays and Fridays, there's karaoke.

He said a lot of patrons sing "the old music" and they have a lot of talent, sounding just like the original acts.

"That's how good it is," said Adams.

There's soul food on the menu.

"We're known for our chicken," said Adams. "Come here and eat and have a good time."

Adams said he's been offered millions for his establishment, but he has no plans to sell.

"I've been told constantly, please don't sell," he explained. "I believe that we, as a people, should have a place where we can go and have fun, that we own."

And he has no plans to retire.

"I enjoy doing what I'm doing," said Adams. "And the more I see people, the more you see me smile."

Adams said it makes him happy to provide something in the community that people enjoy.