What happens when you put together the best of the best in music, wine and food in the heart of New York City? You get City Winery. City Winery has four locations across the United States (Chicago, Napa, Nashville) yet if you are a Manhattanite you can take the 1 train down to Houston, turn right and it is footsteps away on Varick Street. According to their site, City Winery bills itself as “striving to deliver the highest-end combined culinary and cultural experience to our customers who are passionate in sharing wine, music, and culinary arts. We are a unique facility, combining a fully functioning winery with intimate concerts, food & wine classes, private events in a variety of configurations, and fine dining. We have created a compelling mix for our sophisticated clientele of foodies, and active cultural patrons—bringing the wine country experience to the middle of a large city.”
If you are looking for a relaxing environment to take a date or a couple of friends, City Winery is the place to go. City Winery is the brainchild of Michael Dorf, who created the well known and loved Knitting Factory as his vision was to combine the elements of Knitting Factory (music) with his love for wine under one great establishment. Based off of my experience on Friday night, I would say that Michael did a pretty great job of accomplishing his vision as the place was jam packed in both the restaurant part of City Winery and the part where live music was being played for everyone’s enjoyment.
City Winery is really a complex place as you can go there for multiple uses. One- it has a delicious menu for you to have a relaxing meal at with your choices of some of the best wines in the world. Something really unique at City Winery is that they actually have wine… on tap. Now normally that is a foreign concept as it is usually beer on tap, and when places to wine on tap it is essentially just pulled from the bottle. According to head winemaker, David Lecomte, City Winery more than likely sells the most volume of tap wine out of all and wine bars on the East Coast. Benefits for drinking wine on tap include lower stress levels (in that case, I need it by the gallon), Minimal SO2, and keeping their wines to a truer nature. Wines on the tap include Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Riesling just to name a few. For a full list of their incredibly impressive line of wines, both on tap and many others, check out their official list here.
Regarding their winemaking, it goes way beyond the simple pop of a cork and into the glass kind of a location. Per Michael Dorf– We take great pride in sourcing our grapes from some of the finest vineyards in the world – Cabernet Sauvignon from Bettinelli in Napa, California to Pinot Noir from Hyland Vineyards in Willamette Valley, Oregon or even Malbec from the esteemed Catena Vineyards in Agrelo, Mendoza Argentina. We are proud to focus on terroir–the French expression of certain varietals growing better in specific climates and soils. Being a winery in the middle of the city allows us the luxury to seek the most expressive and world-class fruit for our customers.
But we are not just winery behind closed doors—our aim is to give fans of wine, food, and culture the chance to touch and feel all the aspects of the winemaking process—the crush, the fermenting, the blend and ultimately, the opportunity to create your own private barrel, or on a smaller scale to bottle a few cases of our wine with your custom designed label.
Our facility is designed to integrate the winemaking process with consumption and enjoyment of wine. Wander from the winery into our Barrel Room tasting bar and restaurant, where you can try our house wines served fresh on tap, straight from the cellar. Our cuisine pairs the wines with flavorful dishes prepared to complement your glass. Tasting flights are offered to sample our many wines made in house, along with an award-winning wine list featuring over 400 wines from many of the top producers from all over the world. Whether for a concert, wine class, tasting dinner, or private party, you are never out of view of either the stainless steel tanks or French Oak barrels.
When it comes to the dining menus at City Winery, it runs a plenty for each of the rooms inside the location. According to Michael Dorf- “Where we pair the culinary experience with the cultural experience. We have created a setting to share your passion for wine, music and great food. Our company mantra is “Indulge Your Senses”- that the sounds, smells, tastes and views should combine to create a unique and special experience when you’re in our home.” They have a completely separate menu for when you come for their concerts (see here), but they also have ones right in the barrel room for brunch, lunch, dinner and a tasting one as well. We were treated to their delectable dinner menu, which consists of some really tasty treats on top of some wonderful wines to pair with whatever you are eating. Should you be there for dinner, I would recommend trying the following items with whatever wine suits you.
For the “Openers”, or appetizers, I would recommend their Duck Tacos, Butcher’s Table Meatballs and Crispy Mozzarella Arancini with Roasted Tomato Sauce. Small in size for all, yet very filling with each option. The Meatballs are usually my favorite no matter where I go and this was no exception. Paired with the delicious sauce, they were cooked perfectly and tasted delicious. For their Main Acts, you really can’t go wrong with a Steak Sandwich, and in this case it was sooooooooooooo right. Paired with Asiago cheese, tomato, lettuce, caramelized onions and smoked aioli, the sandwiches flavors were elevated ten fold and came with tasty French Frites. Overall a really delicious main course. Other great options include their Lobster Spaghetti, Pan Fried Chicken and Sweet Chili Tofu if you would like to go the non-meat route. To finish, their Salted Chocolate Cookies and Passion Fruit Creme Brulee were simply divine and a great way to finish off what already was a great meal.
For the concert and event arena of City Winery, they host a ton of events ranging from music, wine, comedy and more- all held inside a fun and great environment for you and your friends to enjoy. Even though April is almost over, there are still a ton of great events going on this month. Check out the site to see what piques your interest. Other amenities that City Winery provides is private events for you to have for your next outing and an outstanding wine shop. So even if wine isn’t your thing per se, you will find something at City Winery that will really spark your interest and keep you coming back.
For more information about City Winery, check out their official site. Happy Eating/Drinking/Dancing/Singing everyone!