SoHo’s 25-seat restaurant Niche Niche is an undeniably charming concept. Designed to host evenings reminiscent of a dinner party at a friend’s house, the venue officially opens tonight—and every day onward will be unique, with a different wine industry professional hosting each night.
Owned by Ariel Arce and her father Billy (also behind Air’s Champagne Parlor and Tokyo Record Bar), Niche Niche was born from Arce’s memories of childhood. She tells us that the restaurant is “my family upbringing in brick and mortar. My parents were always entertaining and I got good at throwing a decent party. Good wine and food along with music and company is a simple recipe, but it’s not always easy to pull off. Niche Niche was an idea I had to bring together members of the wine community in a welcoming environment so that guests could actually learn from the source—winemakers, writers and professionals—to get the experience I have been lucky enough to receive in my professional life.”
The endeavor also gave her a chance to work with her father. “Truly, I wanted to do a project with my dad,” she says. “He’s an amazing carpenter and all around renaissance man, and this idea was the one we were both the most connected to. It really feels like our home.” As for the decor, the plan was to continue that home-like vibe, making it a relaxed and cozy space. “We kept joking about the most calm place is Sedona, so we went for ‘Sedona chic!'” she says. “Someone called it, ‘If Nancy Meyers opened a restaurant.'”
Preview night, hosted by Veronica Rogov, was a journey through four sparkling wines, all of which are natural or low-intervention. From Czech winemaker Milan Nestarec’s Danger 380 Volts (a gloriously mineral-y wine that ferments for about two months in the bottle) to Pascal Potaire’s Les Capriades (a Pinot Noir rosé with perfect funkiness) and more, the wine selections were sometimes surprising, but always delicious. Each drink was complemented by simple dishes that focused on quality produce—be it house-made focaccia or apple crumble—made by food director Zach Fabian and chef Aaron Lirette.
Ultimately, Arce hopes the experience is educational but playful. She tells us, “I hope everybody learns a little. I hope they make a new friend. And I hope they fall in love with the staff, because so much of what makes the experience special, to me, are the people who work there and are genuinely interested in servicing people.”
Tonight’s official opening will be hosted by Adrien Dhondt (of Dhondt-Grellet Champagne) and winemaker and sommelier Rajat Parr. The rest of March will see the likes of Liz Nicholson of Frankly Wines, Athena Bochanis of Palinkerie Fine Hungarian Imports, John Connolly from Frenchette and others hosting very different evenings—with exquisite and interesting wines the commonality. Tastings are $40 for four wines, food is an additional $40, and there will be two sessions per night (one at 6PM and another at 8PM) before the bar is open to the public around 10PM. Stay tuned online and on Instagram for updates and openings.
Images by Noah Fecks