EAST VILLAGE — A "wellness recreation center" featuring a café, yoga studio and lounge is expected to open at the former Mars Bar location next week.
NatureEs will focus on helping its customers make healthy choices by offering a mostly vegetarian menu, yoga, meditation classes and skincare services in a two-level, 5,000-square-foot facility decorated with green walls and chandeliers on First Street near Second Avenue, co-owner Alain Palinsky said.
Even the booze will have a health bent: The bar will serve organic beers, biodynamic wines and specialty cocktails that use tonics infused with extracts from the Amazon, Asia and Siberia, said Palinsky, who co-founded the juice bar chain Juice Press.
“It's a more curated approach to wellness overall,” he said.
NatureEs is located where Mars Bar, a gritty neighborhood dive, stood before it was shut down in 2011 to make way for Jupiter 21, a 12-story luxury building.
Longtime customers hoped the iconic East Village watering hole would return last year, when former owner Hank Penza's name came up on the agenda at a Community Board 3 committee meeting.
However, Penza — who is also a co-owner of the new wellness center — and his partners pitched "a variation of Mars Bar" that included quinoa bowls and a juice bar, even though they planned to keep the name at the time.
Penza did not respond to a request for comment.
Palinsky said the owners were still finalizing their hours but hoped to open the café by 7 a.m. so it could serve breakfast. The basement-level bar will open in the evening until 4 a.m., he added.