Atera, Matthew Lightner's ambitious tasting-menu-only redo of the former Compose space in Tribeca, opened earlier this week, and when Grub Street stopped in last night, we were impressed to find a room that feels more open than it did when it was Compose, even if it is still quite small. (Just seventeen seats, as you've probably heard.) But one staffer told us that the team would soon be adding a downstairs bar and separate private dining room with its own service kitchen. Right now, the restaurant's cocktails and coffee (pour-over, natch) are prepared behind the chef's counter, where space is tight. When the downstairs lounge opens, it will handle the bulk of the restaurant's cocktail needs, and it will allow diners to linger over some post-meal espressos without taking up one of the seats upstairs. (Presumably, it could also allow people to drop in and grab a bite without necessarily having to commit to a ten-course tasting menu.) The working title on the downstairs bar is "the Office," but Grant Achatz might have something to say about that particular name.
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