Spotted at the opening party for City Winery Chicago: EXPO director Tony Karman, former Playboy CEO Christie Hefner, Good Day Chicago co-anchor Anna Davlantes, and three Chicago magazine editors. Yes, a few dedicated staffers stopped by the much-anticipated City Winery (1200 W. Randolph St.) for the opening bash Tuesday night. Here's what wowed us—and what needs some work:
The wine. It makes sense. City Winery is a fully operational joint that will attract vinophiles in the area to its various tastings and classes. The Chicago mag staffers were split between the Sauvignon Blanc and the Cabernet Sauvignon, but the Rosé seemed to be the most popular order at the bar.
The space. City Winery makes full use of its 30,000 square feet: there's a 300-seat performance space for upcoming musical and comedy acts, a 100-seat restaurant and bar on the main floor, an additional 75-seat bar on the mezzanine level with skyline views, and outdoor seating available.
Rahm Emanuel. The arts-loving mayor stopped by the party to show his support. Maybe he'll become a regular?
ROOM TO IMPROVE:
The sound. Blame it on the party going on in the background, but the acoustics didn't do Green Mill regulars Swing Gitan justice. Let's hope it was a one-night problem—we're already making plans to go back.
The bar. If last night was any indication, ordering drinks is going to be a mess on a busy night. The server's station is at the head of the bar, meaning customers crowded right by the tap, leaving the servers fighting for space—and some unlucky drinkers along the rest of the bar very thirsty.
The bathrooms. Priority for the Winery: put locks on the bathroom doors on the second floor.
Photograph: Courtesy of the Silverman Group