The Le Crocodile and Chez Ma Tante team open a natural wine bar on the Lower East Side

The Le Crocodile and Chez Ma Tante team open a natural wine bar on the Lower East Side

New York City is full of stylish neighborhood wine bars these days, and one more is about to join the fray. Veteran restaurateur Jon Neidich — the operator behind famed downtown nightlife spot Acme, as well as hip Williamsburg spots Le Crocodile and Bar Blondeau — is heading to the Lower East Side to open Le Dive, a bar at natural wine and a café with a Parisian bent in the neighborhood’s so-called Dimes Square, at 37 Canal Street, Ludlow Street, on May 10.

“When you talk about natural wine, there’s no clear definition,” says Ashley Santoro, beverage director at Le Dive. For this natural wine bar, Santoro defines the moniker as wines from organic and biodynamic farms that boast low-intervention winemaking methods. Glasses of wine start at $13 each, while bottles start at $42, and Santoro is keen to take a friendly and educational approach to customer service. “We want it to be a neighborhood place where people don’t feel stupid [asking] what is sulfur versus sulfites,” says Santoro.

In addition to the wines, the catering group’s executive chef, Nicole Gajadhar, has put together a menu snacks and small plates at Le Dive including smoked salmon with dill cream, radish and butter, artichokes and aioli, and canned sardines.

A range of wines in stock at Dive.
Teddy Wolff/Le Dive

An artichoke spread out on a white plate with a cup of dip and another plate with butter and radishes in the background.

Artichoke with Dijon aioli.
Teddy Wolff/Le Dive

Overhead view of three white plates on a table filled with bread, salmon and a tin of sardines.  A glass of wine sits on the side of the table.

Smoked salmon, marinated sardines and baguettes.
Teddy Wolff/Le Dive

Neidich has been toying with the idea of ​​a Parisian-style natural wine bar, which isn’t new to New York, since a research trip abroad for Le Crocodile, his upscale French restaurant inside. of the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn. He was impressed by the tabacs in Paris, or the well-worn cafes where customers hang out to smoke and drink coffee and wine. It’s similar to how New Yorkers treat their favorite bar, he says, and he wanted to merge those ideas in a sunny corner of the Lower East Side, with a large neon namesake similar to the tobacco shops he visited. . “I wanted it to be almost like someone inherited a tobacco from older parents, but I was updating the food and drink offerings to be more in line with how young people ate and drank. today,” says Neidich.

A sunny restaurant interior with a row of two-tier tables on the right side and a bar on the left side.

Inside the Dive.
Teddy Wolff/Le Dive

The Dive will be open for dinner on weekdays and lunch and dinner on weekends to begin with, although Neidich plans to extend opening hours to 2 a.m. most nights. “New York nightlife is back and I think it’s been back for a while,” says Neidich, who opened Nines, an upstairs restaurant that meets supper club in the same space as the popular Acme nightclub earlier this year. “It feels very alive and customers are having a lot of fun and celebrating the opportunity to eat and drink and interact with friends and strangers.”

The Dive is open Tuesday to Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to midnight.

A man stands and faces the camera leaning against the bar inside the Dive, one hand resting on the bar.

Restorer Jon Neidich.
Teddy Wolff/Le Dive

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