Restaurateur Ariel Arce of Tokyo Record Bar - Biography

New York, NY

September 2019

Each day of Ariel Arce’s childhood in New York City was filled with gymnastics meets, acting classes, and singing lessons. After attending LaGuardia High School, the performing arts school of “Fame” prominence, Arce headed to the University of Michigan to pursue a career in theater and film. Graduating into the recession and a lack of opportunity in the arts, Arce turned to the restaurant industry to generate a steady income. Finding her niche in beverage, she moved to Chicago to work with Grant Achatz’s team at The Office and with W. Craig Cooper’s crew at Pops For Champagne, developing her own deep appreciation for bubbles.  

Returning to her native New York, Arce opened champagne and fried chicken joint Birds and Bubbles. She then joined the team at Greenwich Village bar Riddling Widow, and seized the opportunity to buy the bar in 2016. Arce transformed that into her first project, Air’s Champagne Parlor and soon after, opened Tokyo Record Bar in the basement, pairing vinyl playlists with Japanese cuisine. In 2019, Arce opened two more spots on the same street: Niche Niche throws a different wine-focused dinner party each night, and Special Club, located below Niche Niche, is a retro-inspired jazz lounge. She has been called “The Champagne Empress of Greenwich Village” by The New York Times, “Champagne Mogul” by Vogue, and named one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s “40 Under 40 Tastemakers.”