Nitecap Says Goodnight to Rivington Street After Six Years
Nitecap probably needs one right about now.
The basement bar – founded in 2014 by David Kaplan and Alex Day of Death & Co. fame – announced its permanent closure on Instagram last night, citing challenges due to COVID-19 and debts still owed.
Nitecap closed down, with the rest of the city, at the outset of the pandemic last March. However, the establishment was unable to take advantage of sidewalk seating due to local zoning, and its cocktails forte was complicated by the lack of a kitchen to pair the required food. All the while, the landlord of 151 Rivington reportedly demanded payment of rent.
The financial situation was apparently so dire, that by August Nitecap allowed its liquor license expire due to an inability to afford the $5,000 renewal fee.
Meanwhile, ownership is still on the hook for the last six months rent, plus the remaining four on the lease. Their goal is to launch several fundraising campaigns over the next several weeks to assist, including merch sales and Zoom happy hours.
Sum told, Nitecap spent six years on Rivington Street. Two years beneath Schapiro’s at number 120, and then taking the place of 151 at its namesake address in 2016.
View this post on Instagram
It is with broken hearts, that we announce the permanent closure of Nitecap. The history of our little-bar-that-could is one filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows. From our early days beneath Shapiro’s, to our current home in the basement of 151 Rivington Street, our team has survived many trials and tribulations, but sadly COVID-19 and its tidal wave of destruction, have left us unable to find a path forward. ✨ Following the devastating challenges with our landlords at 120 Rivington, we were able to find a lifeline at 151. Though a larger space, we struggled to find our financial footing. Even though we renovated the space at great expense, the overall building at 151 Rivington was neglected by its landlord, requiring ongoing maintenance expenses and chronic challenges. Paired with an over-market rent, operating Nitecap at its new location was a challenge, but one that we were able to fine-tune to finally make it a profitable business. In the process, Nitecap has been home to an incredible staff of talented and dedicated hospitality professionals, who have gone on to work behind some of the most celebrated bars in the country carrying a piece of Nitecap with them. ✨ With our closure, we are unfortunately left with significant debt to our landlord. We are launching a number of initiatives (did somebody say to-go cocktail pop-up?!). So please, don’t unfollow us quite yet, as we’ll be posting updates and how-to’s for all via Instagram. We are honored that @robertosimonson & @punch_drink have taken the time to shine a light on the plight of Nitecap. Link in our bio to read the full article. ✨ While we are beyond devastated, we are also full of gratitude. We want to take a moment to thank you all for the outpouring of support, not just over the past few difficult months, but over the years! We’re immensely proud of what our uniquely quirky bar has accomplished. Our disco ball has been witness to a long list of beautiful moments and the memories we were able to create with you will stay with us forever. And to the staff we’ve been fortunate enough to call family— Nitecap became what it did because of you. Thank you! ✨ Love & peace Natasha, Alex and Dave