Wassail — the first bar in New York City entirely dedicated to cider — has finally closed its doors after more than a year of speculation. The bar and restaurant at 162 Orchard St., between Rivington and Stanton streets, said on Facebook that its served its last ciders at the end of 2017, Bowery Boogie first reported.
First opened in 2015 by Queens Kickshaw owners Jennifer Lim and Ben Sandler, Wassail was quickly a critical hit, with Eater critic Robert Sietsema awarding the ambitious vegetarian restaurant three stars. In 2016, the beverage director Dan Pucci was named an Eater Young Gun for his work expanding cider fluency.
But the longevity of the spot has been tenuous at least since late 2016. The space has been put up for rent several times; at least two other restaurateurs have tried to make their own thing there.
“We wanted to open peoples’ minds with the range of cider to be had, and to bring fine cider into the mainstream,” the statement from Wassail owners says. “It was New York City’s first dedicated cider bar, serving fine vegetarian fare in the Lower East Side. What could be more unconventional and ambitious?”
Though Wassail was the first, it’s certainly not the last. Within the last year, at least two other cider-focused bars have opened in New York: Bad Seed, a Crown Heights spot with 20 ciders and beer on tap, and Brooklyn Cider House, a sprawling Bushwick bar with food inspired by Spain.