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City Winery slates music for 'sophisticated' new venue

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City Winery Chicago, a new restaurant and concert venue opening Aug. 1 in the West Loop, has announced its first round of music bookings.

R&B legend Sam Moore, of Sam & Dave, begins music at the new venue (Aug. 24-25), followed by a stream of adult fare from a variety of styles, often holding down two-night stands: the David Grisman Sextet (Sept. 6-7); Suzanne Vega (Sept. 8-9); Brazilian pop singer Bebel Gilberto (Sept. 14-15); Matthew Sweet (Sept. 20-21); Ian Hunter of Mott the Hoople (Sept. 28-29); jazz vocalist Kurt Elling (Oct. 21-22); Shawn Colvin (Nov. 7-8); Israeli singer-guitarist David Broza (Nov. 12); Rosanne Cash (Nov. 18); Chicago's queen of soul, Mavis Staples (Nov. 23-24); and, in two New Year's Eve performances, Los Lobos (Dec. 31).

Comedian Lewis Black christens the venue with a rare, intimate five-night engagement of his "Running on Empty" stand-up show (Aug. 15-19).

dorf060512.JPGOwner Michael Dorf (pictured), who booked the Knitting Factory in New York, spoke to the Sun-Times on Tuesday about his philosophy for this new Chicago stage.

Think Ravinia -- but indoors and without having to lug your own wine.

"Last year, I'm not joking, I walked through Ravinia at the Swell Season concert with my twin boys," Dorf said, "and through the lawn area I counted no less than 2,000 picnics with multiple bottles of wine sitting there about to listen to some incredible rock and roll. It brought tears to my eyes. There is no better manifestation of what we're trying to do than that right there -- people who want to sit and relax and listen to great music and do it with some really fine wine."

City Winery Chicago (the first City Winery is in New York) is at 1200 W. Randolph and has more than 30,000 square feet of space containing a restaurant, two private dining rooms, a winery/bar, an outdoor patio and the 300-capacity music room. Dorf said the restaurant will serve 18 wines on tap direct from the barrel.

The similar S.P.A.C.E. venue in Evanston has a 250-seat listening room behind its street-front restaurant.

Bookings at City Winery are handled by former Old Town School of Folk Music talent coordinator Colleen Miller.

She's assembled some regular performance series, too, including a weekly Sunday Klezmer Brunch (starting Aug. 19) and some wine and music pairings that "celebrate a musical artist's catalog, pairing live or recorded versions of their work with wine flights specially chosen to accompany the songs," starting with the Waco Brothers playing the music of T. Rex (Aug. 28).

"This isn't the Knitting Factory where we focused on avant-garde and alternative rock," said Dorf, a native of Milwaukee. "We're going for performances that will intrigue and interest a sophisticated clientele. That doesn't mean an older demographic. It's more a psychographic of people interested in fine art, architecture, cuisine and culture -- people who are interested in drinking wine out of a glass, not a plastic cup, and doing so around some high-quality talent."

Tickets for shows at City Winery Chicago go on sale to the public June 11 at (312) 733-WINE and

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Thomas Conner

Thomas Conner covers pop music for the Chicago Sun-Times. Contact him via e-mail.


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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Conner published on June 5, 2012 11:22 AM.

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