K. Mennem 7:17 p.m., June 17
The casual yet complex contemporary hospitality concepts of Arsalun Tafazoli garner a lot of attention. It all started with the urban-mod craft-beer bar motif at the East Village’s Neighborhood and was followed by the addition of Noble Experiment, a cocktail haven featuring old woods juxtaposed by a wall of golden skulls, which lies hidden behind a faux stack of kegs to the rear of the ‘hood. The latter project was the collaborative product of Tafazoli and Nathan Stanton, the owner of downtown’s invigorated yet still plenty divey El Dorado Cocktail Lounge.
Despite a sometimes problematic reservation system that involves texting to a mysterious number, the Experiment has paid off. The venue is regarded as one of the best places in San Diego for cocktails done right. That success led the duo to invest in a spot on a Little Italy side street, which they transformed into a craft beer and mixology hybrid offering very "now" takes on comforting dishes. That venue, Craft & Commerce, took mere minutes to take off and is one of the most consistently packed eateries in San Diego. Given that positive outcome, it’s no wonder they’ve selected Little Italy for their next venture.
That spot is being dubbed UnderBelly and will take over the space formerly occupied by Red Velvet Wine Bar. With its three-sided wraparound bar, it seems the perfect place for Tafazoli and Stanton’s homage to Asian noodle houses. Details are few at this point, but expect steaming hot bowls of goodness and, knowing these two's method of operation, plenty of adult beverages to level things out.
UnderBelly will be located at Suite 101 at 750 W. Fir Street.