The narrow, slightly subterranean space at 174 First Avenue has been home to a tapas bar and flamenco shows since the ’90s, when tapas were described by the New York Times as a “novelty.” The original occupant, Xunta, moved to Williamsburg in 2009 and Nai Tapas Bar quickly took over the dark, date-friendly nook. Now, after eight years, Nai has moved on as well. It plans to reopen on Second Avenue next month.
A message from Nai explains that “our goal is to always create better experiences for our customers. We believe moving to a new home will allow us to keep innovating and pursuing this dedication.” The message says the new location will open “sometime in December” and teases: “Who knows… maybe you’ll have 2-3 inches of more table space.”
According to a banner that hung over the restaurant before it closed days ago, it will move to 85 Second Avenue. The corner space, at East 5th Street, was formerly home to Bareburger, which itself moved to the Lower East Side due to rising rents.
A liquor license questionnaire indicates Nai’s new location will have 35 tables and 111 seats, plus a bar with five seats. Executive chef Ruben Rodriguez indicates there will be live music and no cover, so it looks like the free flamenco nights are set to continue.
This isn’t the only recent shakeup in tapaslandia. A month ago, Greenwich Village favorite Tertulia closed after seven years.