The sommelier community is already seriously rallying around Ariel Arce’s dinner party of a restaurant opening in Soho on Monday.
Each night at Niche Niche, a different sommelier or winemaker will curate the wine picks, and Arce has pulled in wine heavyhitters from places like Frenchette, Eleven Madison Park, and Charlie Bird. It’s all a part of her goal to connect New Yorkers to new wine and each other.
“In a perfect world, I would love the entire room to be friends by the time the night is over,” she says.
The budding relationships will be lubricated by four four-ounce glasses of wine, paired with family-style food for $80 per person, or $40 for just the wine. The experience is really more about the drinks than the food, but chefs Zach Fabian (Tokyo Record Bar) and Aaron Lirette (Danny Meyer’s now-closed GreenRiver in Chicago) are making nightly-changing menus that pair with the wine.
Diners start by mingling with a glass before splitting off for the meal. Seatings are at 6 p.m and 8 p.m., and after that, the room turns into a wine bar. People can pop by for the entire thing, just the wine, or to split a bottle.
As for the 25-seat space built by Arce’s father and business partner Billy Arce, it’s reminiscent of an actual home. Rugs line the floors of the corner space, it’s a very open kitchen with seating at the counter, and there’s a seating area with velvet chairs for walk-ins. Don’t miss the dog wallpaper-lined bathroom.
Eventually, Arce will open a music venue called Special Club and private room downstairs, likely in April. Arce has made her name through whimsical experiential concepts like Greenwich Village’s Tokyo Record Bar, where diners pick the playlist alongside a Japanese meal in a very interactive evening that ends with a slice of pizza.
Niche Niche opens Monday, March 4.