Note: The new City Winery NYC opened during the COVID-19 pandemic, and thus is currently operating under social distancing rules, as well as screening via the Clear app and at the door. This venue review reflects that; the situation will undoubtedly change with the crisis and government rules.
City Winery NYC is located at 25 11th Avenue, Manhattan, right where 15th Street meets the Hudson River. Situated actually on the river at Pier 57, it lies between Chelsea Piers and Pier 54, just west of Hiro Ballroom and the old Highline Ballroom, and northwest of where the original City Winery was located. The restaurant opened in October 2020, and the first ticketed live concert was on April 3rd, 2021 with Rhett Miller (both taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic).
Stretched out both along and into the Hudson, the main room is up a flight of circular stairs, opening to the back-center of the stage floor, which has a bar and casks of wine (behind glass) to the house-left. Current COVID protocols have spread the tables out in proper social distancing, dotted on the floor with four-seaters in the center and two-person tables along the back and sides. There is a semi-circle balcony overlooking the stage floor, with a table along the rim (as well as small glass barrier) and a few high tables, with socially distant seats. The stage itself is quite large and well lit, in easy view from wherever. The space is much bigger than the prior City Winery; even when COVID protocols (hopefully) end, the tables likely won’t be as tightly packed together as in that old place. There is also a separate, smaller capacity Loft stage space, and many City Winery shows will be livestreamed through Mandolin platform.
One of the first music venues to open up right when shows were allowed again, while the space is bigger and better (including great soundsystem), much else from the old City Winery has been retained, from the strong food and great wine selection to favoring solo singer/songwriters and the like. There are no openers, and an act can play both an early and late show on the same night (and never go past the babysitter’s bedtime). Yes, it is definitely upscale, but not so far upscale as to be inaccessible. The prices aren’t cheap, but also aren’t as expensive as one might expect from the place (and yes, they also have beer). The current socially distanced set up is actually quite nice, lots of room (and can take your mask off once you sit down) – not punk rock, but you also don’t have to overhear another table’s conversation. City Winery already pulled off the tough task of marrying a restaurant and a music venue; now they’re pulling off bringing both back.
Capacity: 350 (Main Stage), 150 (Loft)
25 11th Avenue (where 15th Street meets the Hudson River)
A, C, E or L trains to 8th Ave. – walk 3 blocks west to the river, one block north on 11th Avenue
1 train to 14th St. – walk 4 blocks west to the river, one block north on 11th Avenue
F or M trains to 6th Ave./14th St. – walk 5 blocks west to the river, one block north on 11th Avenue
4, 5, 6, N, Q, R or W trains to Union Square – walk 7 blocks west to the river, one block north on 11th Avenue