Just as feared, the incoming replacement of the famously gritty Mars Bar is nothing at all like the legendary Lower East Side dive bar. Though it's owned by the same guy – Hank Penza, who is now in his 80s and a minority partner – along with the nightlife pros behind the Griffin in the Meatpacking District and the Pink Elephant, Alain Palinsky, a co-founder of Juice Press is also a partner, and he appears to have played a key role in shaping the new "Mars Bar."
First of all, as Bowery Boogie learns, the place is no longer called Mars Bar, but instead NatureEs (just try pronouncing that one). A glimpse at the first floor reveals a very sweet, trendy, and clearly healthy cafe – all light-colored wood, geometric shapes, and minimalist furniture. It will sell juice and every combination of vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free/dairy-free snacks imaginable. Bowery Boogie also hears that the cafe will offer facials and massages. At one point, a basement bar space was planned, but it doesn't look like that will be opening when NatureEs does, some time in the next couple of weeks, and it's unclear whether it will open at all. In any case, anyone hoping to see Mars Bar restored to it's former grungy glory should give up on that dream right now.