This story was updated at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 21.

TapaBar, a Spanish-style restaurant that opened in September 2016 in Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle, is closing at the end of the year as the owners create a new eatery there.

The restaurant is planning a New Year’s Eve dinner, then closing the next day, according to a press release issued Thursday.

Starting Jan. 2, brothers Alonso and Alvaro Roche, who own TapaBar, will operate a “pop-up lab” for lunch and dinner at the site.

The brothers are deciding what they want to do next in the space, which is at the corner of Norfolk and Fairmont avenues. A lower-priced family-oriented restaurant is a possibility and could open in the spring, Alonso Roche said in an interview Thursday afternoon.

Alonso Roche, the chef, already has been experimenting with pho as a pop-up lunch option at the location.


The press release says the Roches may reopen TapaBar elsewhere in the Washington area.

Alonso Roche said the restaurant was doing well on weekends, but not during the week. He said he and his brother have thought for about four months what changes they should make. They will continue to serve pho, and possibly spring rolls and summer rolls, during the transition.

The Roches realized TapaBar “is not quite the right fit for the neighborhood,” the press release says.


The statement from the Roches says they “have tweaked the hours and service options over the past few months but while the menu has received consistent positive feedback from diners, the restaurant was not able to maintain satisfactory traffic.”

The Roches are planning to open TacoArepa, a Caribbean-Latin American restaurant, on Fairmont Avenue in Bethesda in mid-January, a few months later than they originally hoped. An accompanying concept—a patio bar that likely will be called Sirena Beer Garden—is expected to open in March, depending on the weather, the press release said.

They also own Bold Bite Market and 202 Artisanal Donuts in Bethesda.