The West Village will get a stylish new Champagne bar this spring that has already seen huge success in San Francisco, known for its playful vibes and indulgent offerings.
The Riddler, from restaurateur and publicist Jen Pelka, will open at 51 Bank St., at West Fourth Street. Pelka, who splits her time between SF and New York City, opened the original in SF two years ago, and almost immediately began plotting one for New York.
Like the first — which Eater SF named wine bar of the year in 2017 — the Riddler here will have tons of Champagne and sparkling wine by the glass and bottles, as well as lighthearted options such as chambongs, tater tot waffles, and a bucket of Miller High Life, the so-called “Champagne of beers.”
What’s new here is a full kitchen with a raw bar, though there’s no chef yet. The 700-square-foot, 30-seat space will have an antique-looking back bar with Champagne buckets and vintage glassware, a raw bar on display, and banquettes throughout, with the space done up in black, gold, and marble. The SF Riddler’s design beacon is a portrait of Jacqueline Bisset drinking Champagne, which will be here, too.
“That’s such an important image for us because it represents women and power and sexiness,” Pelka says.
Women team members are a large part of the Riddler’s ethos. In California, it has an all-female investor team, and it will be the same in the new NYC location. NYC investors aren’t nailed down yet, but SF’s investors included big names such as former Times food critic Ruth Reichl and Zola founder and CEO Shan-Lyn Ma.
Though plenty of patrons at the SF location are male, the spirit of the bar leans into a feminine energy with gold touches, female icons in the decor, and offerings like a glass of wine filled to the brim that’s listed on the menu as being for “hard days.”
Since its opening in SF, the Riddler has been consistently packed. Pelka says it’s a combination of neighborhood locals and industry folk, those celebrating special occasions, and tourists, and she wants the West Village location to serve the same. She hopes to appeal to locals with the same affordable, lower-end offerings, as well as those looking to splurge with an extended reserve bottle list. A boozy brunch will also be a calling card.
NYC has a small roster of dedicated sparkling bars, including Air’s Champagne Parlor nearby and Flute in Midtown. The Riddler will join the pack this spring, open daily until midnight.