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Sneak Peek: City Winery

By Melissa Wiley in Food on Jul 26, 2012 6:00PM

Heavy construction typically signals the birth pangs of something intriguingly hip in the West Loop these days, and the coruscating pipe fittings and exposed electrical wiring at City Winery are no exception. So prepare to slake your thirst, loosen your belt, and get your groove on all in one fell (and swank) swoop. This wine, food, and music venue is rapidly morphing from a drywall caterpillar into an exposed-brick butterfly for its opening Aug. 15.

Beverage director Rachel Driver Speckan treated us to a preview of the space, designed to amply accommodate City Winery’s smorgasbord of food and wine, men and women, and song. According to Speckan, “City Winery is a multi-faceted venue, focusing on crafting small batch wine in the winery, hosting musical artists in an intimate music venue with cabaret seating, as well as pairing local and seasonal produce with a highly edited, international wine list. The building layout also includes beautiful private and exclusive event experiences.”

The sprawling unfinished interior represents the Chicago incarnation of the New York original, the brainchild of Michael Dorf and occupying some prime real estate in SoHo. Dorf, a wine and music enthusiast, wanted to let urbanites in on some of the action to be had in the vineyards. Importing grapes from around the US as well as South America, City Winery is as good as its name, crushing and fermenting the grapes in house before bottling, pouring, and selling its own vino on site.

Although the concert venue is acoustically primed to showcase music artists, it is comedian Lewis Black who will officially open the Chicago City Winery stage with his trademark hot-headed harangues Aug. 15-19. Titled “Running on Empty,” his act stands in stark (if hilarious) contrast to the implied aim of City Winery, which wants to leave you—and by extension the city’s beau monde—simultaneously full and coming back for more.

City Winery is located at 1200 W. Randolph St.