|The 168 Bowery space; photo by Rachel Frydenlund|
Daou (a former real estate guy) has tons of pop-up experience, of course, having overseen the transformation of his Openhouse Gallery on Mulberry Street into an Astroturfed indoor park and recently launched a temporary 3-D-art gallery, 3dea, at the Eventi Hotel. Daou and Tang have equally broad ambitions for 168, with the added bonus of a full open kitchen featuring two combi ovens, a commercial hood, induction burners, and a six-seat chef's counter. "We're opening this for the vagueness of the space," Daou explained. "The thing we decided to do here was what we do at Openhouse" with a food component.
There's talk of hosting a private Argentine Milonga society who would also serve members traditional bites; a collaboration with Jonathan Wu of seasonal Chinese project Wu Pops Up might happen; and Tang tells us he's planning to bring a temporary Nom Wah to the space - he's been testing dumpling recipes using the combis' steam settings. With a main room that can comfortably seat 30 and a spacious side area that's currently home to a preschool certain weekdays and apt to be in use for a gallery exhibition or sample sale on evenings or weekends, larger functions are possible as well.
Tang and Daou mentioned wanting to host dinners or multi-night residencies with undersung sous-chefs or even home cooks. They're also open to rehearsal dinners, birthday parties, charity functions - anything, really. "You end up seeing what works and you tweak and tweak and tweak," Daou says. While the pop-ups should get rolling in January, the plan is to introduce a daytime cafe with baked goods by former Babycakes pastry maven Jessie Chalkley sometime before Christmas. For bookings, call Openhouse at 212-334-0288 or email email@example.com.