Our fair city has lots of bars and restaurants, but City Winery wins the title of megahub of entertainment. This Ivy City gem — back in the day, Dream/Love — delivers four floors of fun and festivity with a wide selection of food, drink and live performances.
Here, you can get a drink, a meal, see a show or attend (or host!) a private party.
On the night we visited for a grand opening event (never mind it’s been open for a year), the first floor bar was featuring maple rickeys, along with a tasting bar, chocolate and wine pairing, a wine station and assorted hors d’oeuvres.
Attendees also had the opportunity to meet some wine makers. City Winery encompasses a working winery, and visitors can arrange a tour and tasting, and even make their own wine with their own label! Grapes are sourced from Napa, Oregon and as far away as Argentina. The night of the event, City Winery was featuring red and white sangria on the first floor — my favorite!
The venue offers a wide menu of Mediterranean-inspired food, borrowing from Italian, French, Spanish and Middle Eastern culture. Three cheers for the portion size — described on their website as “large plates” — because we’re tired of having to stop at Domino’s after dinner at one of the many ubiquitous small-plates venues in the DMV. Created by executive chef Brandon Ingenito, the menu at City Winery’s Barrel Room Restaurant includes shrimp piri piri, pork chop Milanese and pulled lamb.
The night of the event, the private dining room had a wine and cheese station, and in the main area, Caesar salad, prime rib, pork belly and Ivy City wings.
The venue has separate menus for happy hour, late night and those attending shows. On Thursdays, City Winery offers select bottles of wine for half price.
Attendees listened to City Winery founder and CEO Michael Dorf give opening remarks on the second floor, and then the party started, with Little Red & the Renegades pulling out the accordions and washboards to create their New Orleans-style funk and swamp rock. Upstairs on the third floor, Secret Society played R&B and hip-hop classics that kept the audience on its feet. City Winery has great talent for bringing in new acts while staying true to the area’s roots.
The featured cocktail on the third floor was the Porch Crawler, a killer combo of beer, vodka and gin. We needed it to wash down the desserts, in the form of a chocolate fountain, ice cream sundae bar and pie station.
The party doesn’t stop at City Winery when they run out of floors — the celebration continues on the roof. Known as the Speakeasy, this level has its own bar as well as games such as a giant Jenga. Rooftop party-goers were treated to Orange Crush and Frosé cocktails while they listened to the twangy blues originals of local Lauren Calve.
Local vendors, including Filibuster, Supreme Core Cider, Atlas and Sprinkles Cupcakes brought their wares to this shindig as well.
We love this great addition to the Ivy City Neighborhood!
City Winery, 1350 Okie St. NE, (202) 250-2531