As Neighborhood heads into a record twelfth year in the East Village, CH Projects has announced that it will be closing the space this Monday, March 25 for a six-month renovation and reboot; Noble Experiment, its companion speakeasy, will remain open during construction.
When it first opened in 2007, the bar was an oasis in downtown, joining still-running classic spots like Hamilton’s Tavern and O’Brien’s Pub, and late, great Liars’ Club as havens for the craft beer community. But in the dozen years since, the city has become saturated with the genre. Save for some standouts, craft beer bars are, for better or worse, a dime a dozen these days.
There are now gastropubs on every corner, almost cookie-cutter down to their design and tap list; in response, CH Projects is sloughing off its former self in a quest to be progressive, even if the new Neighborhood runs the risk of dividing the neighborhood. But CH Projects’ co-founder Arsalun Tafazoli says he hopes the changes won’t alienate too many of the bar’s longtime customers; he has a deep affinity for the East Village since it’s where the hospitality group’s empire of 13 concepts first got its start.
Tafazoli says the bar will now focus on select breweries, both veteran and new, that have been foundational in building the local beer scene; the number of taps will be culled down to 16 or 18 from 32, and it will have a more deliberately curated list with less frequent rotation.
Home Studios from New York City, who also designed Brooklyn beer bar Torst, is reimagining Neighborhood with a upgraded look and reconfigured footprint, which will feature somewhat less seating, a smaller bar, and no more patio space. A big addition will be a retail bottle shop component, along with a rare bottle list from a 14-year archive. The food will change drastically too; none of the current dishes will carry over and the menu will have fewer burgers, offering just one vegan option and one based on dry-aged meat that will be developed by the Born & Raised kitchen; everything will be refined by the group’s culinary director, Jason McLeod, and team.