City Winery [Photos: Jason Little]
After much anticipation, and a location change, City Winery will finally open its doors to the public on August 15. Eater got a first look at the 28,000-square-foot venue that contains the only operating winery in Chicago.
From the moment you walk in, there is no doubt this place is serious about wine. Giant chandeliers handcrafted out of wine bottles hang down into the lobby that holds a smattering of cocktail tables and a fireplace-clad lounge area.
The design utilizes elements of the original architecture, exposed brick, wood ceilings and lush colors like lime green, purples and reds. Walls of glass wine bottles and windows reveal the wine making going on behind the scenes.
The restaurant is a big open space with private rooms adjacent to and above the main room. Chef John Fuente (Prix Fixe) created the menu, which utilizes seasonal ingredients and be similar to City Winery New York with dishes like a daily crudo, braised duck tacos, tofu steak, Atlantic Bluefin tuna, New York strip and a wild mushroom tart. As time goes on, the Chicago menu will have more of a Midwest feel. Check out the menus below.
As for the wine, there are 14 wines on tap in the restaurant and five in the performance venue. The current wine is being shipped from New York until the wine in Chicago is ready. Look for the first Chicago batch of rosé and Sauvignon Blanc to be ready to sip in the spring. There will also be a beer and cider on tap.
Entertainment is an important aspect to the City Winery, and the intimate performance venue, which seats 300, will host many comedians and musicians like Lewis Black, Lindsey Buckingham and the David Grisman Sextet, as well as the popular City Winery Klezmer brunch. The architects were pretty true to their original renderings when making the venue a reality.
The City Winery restaurant is open daily 5 p.m. to midnight and the concert venue will swing from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.