DAVID BLUMENTHAL PHOTO
Karl Franz Williams shows off drink ingredients at his Harlem bar.
Harlem barman Karl Franz Williams hopes to open an establishment in New Haven—with the New Haven crowd as not just customers, but seed donors, as well.That was the message the 38-year old self-described “mixologist” and Yale grad sent to New Haveners in an hour-long conversation Sunday at his Harlem bar, 67 Orange Street at at 2082 Frederick Douglass Blvd. He is hoping to raise the starting funds for his new New Haven bar through “crowdfunding,” a method of gathering individual donations online from community members rather than traditional investors.
He plans to call the “Bar Philosophi” as a tribute to the city’s intellectual footprint. The bar will have drinks “inspired by conversation-inducing writers and philosophers” that will have a story, and each story a historical figure – “a writer of note,” as well as a dinner menu of “elevated food.”
He declined to give the new bar’s address since he has not yet officially signed a lease. He did say that he is looking at space in the Chapel West neighborhood.
He chose Upper Chapel, he said, because it is nearby the high-scale New Haven hotel The Study at Yale, as well as the African American Cultural Center at Yale, where he spent a good deal of time as a student.
As of Monday, Williams had raised 2 percent of his $150,000 goal from 18 donors. Williams said he prefers to start with the crowdfunding method, as it will ensure that, from the start, his bar has a connection with the New Haven community that he will serve.