City Winery Stage Sign Goes Up

The stage has been poured with concrete and the wood cover is going on now.  Amazing to see floor plugs for electricity, microphone and speaker plugs being done in such a neat way.   Sound panels on the ceiling and walls installed, lighting grids and Meyer Sound equipment arriving in next few days for installation.   Already, the main performance space sounds great acoustically, looks really cool, and it is clear how nice a show will be in this space.

The main curtain wall, 30 feet tall, 120 feet deep has been framed and is being installed with more glass every few hours–this is a huge wall.  The building then will be fully buttoned up and we then turn on our air-conditioning.  Painting, wood trim, lighting fixtures, we are in the final push to complete and still very much on target to finished on August 1st and ready for our first show on August 15th.  Inside the new wood floors, bars are being sanded, and various coats of stain, sealer, and other smells permeate throughout the place.

We are starting to see the arrival of furniture, tables, chairs, kitchen equipment, and lots of cardboard boxes.  We have ordered a few extra dumpsters for just the wrapping material on the 600 chairs, there really is a lot waste with all of that stuff coming.  But it feels like a big birthday party starting to happen with the unwrapping.  Another week of this and we starting putting it all into place.

Check out the latest photos from City Winery Chicago including one of the City Winery exterior signs, taken by our neighbor, The Breakfast Queen, Ina Pinkney, of Ina’s across the street from City Winery!

City Winery Chicago World Music Primer

Here at City Winery Chicago, we have an expansive and eclectic line-up of music coming through our state of the art venue. Not only the top folk, rock, and jazz artists, but also a wide swath of the top artists in world music. What exactly is world music? Well, just like there are different genres within rock and jazz, there are many different types of music in the overarching “world music” universe. Depending on which country the groups are from will dictate where the emphasis lies in the rhythm, instruments and tone. Here are a few quick explanations of some of the world music artists we have coming in the next few months to City Winery Chicago.

– One of the biggest reoccurring events we will have is the weekly Sunday Klezmer Brunch where we will have groups from Chicago and beyond playing traditional Klezmer music while the audience dines on delicious lox, bagels and more. Klezmer music has its origins in Eastern Europe and is a musical tradition in Judaism. The music is written for dances (such as the Hora) and religious ceremonies (such as weddings). The most popular usage, and most recognizable, is from the musical and film The Fiddler on the Roof. The Klezmer groups, musicians known as Klemorim, consist of violins, piano, tsimbl (a kind of dulcimer), and most importantly a clarinet. The music is lively, melodic, and irresistible to dance to, and often mimics the human voice in tone and musicality. The first group we’ll have performing is the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble. You can check out a clip of them performing a dance tune here.

– Brazilian artist Bebel Gilberto will take over our stage for two nights September 14th and 15th. Gilberto is one of the top-selling Brazilian artists in the US and has had her music featured in movies such as Closer, Rio, and Eat, Pray, Love, as well as TV shows such as “Sex and the City” and “Six Feet Under”. She beautifully combines the bossa nova beats of her native Brazil with jazz and electronic music to create an intoxicating sound that will quickly transport you to a quiet beach in Rio. Gilberto has an extraordinary voice that floats and flows over the music like a calming tide. Give her a listen with this video here and this one here.

– From Brazil we will jump across the Atlantic to Portugal for an evening with Deolinda, a group who takes inspiration from the traditional Portuguese musical style, Fado, and then gives it an upbeat spin. Traditionally Fado is a more melancholy style born from the lower class workers in the harbors of Portugal. However, Deolinda takes only the structure and idea of Fado; their songs are far from sad. They infuse a playful upbeat nature in their music. The guitars jump and dance around the melody while lead singer Ana Bacalhau’s exquisite voice slides and turns around the guitars. Come join us September 24th for what is sure to be a night of beautiful music couple with delicious wines from Portugal. See a preview of Deolinda here.

– Portugal one night, to Romania the next! September 25th brings Romanian brass band Fanfare Ciocarlia to the City Winery Chicago stage. Consisting of 12 members playing trumpets, bass drums, tubas, clarinets and more, Fanfare Ciocarlia is a world-famous group that has played in over a thousand shows in 50 countries. Their music includes hints of Romanian folk music, traditional Serbian music, and even Hollywood and Bollywood music. They play fast and they play energetically. It’s hard to exactly describe their sound, but know you will not be disappointed, nor will you be able to resist clapping your hands and stomping your feet. Take a look at this video for their cover of “Born to be Wild” and try not to smile.

– In October we have a truly unique group of musicians gracing our stage. Acoustic Africa will be bringing an evening of exciting, rhythmic, and inspiring music from some of the continents greatest female vocalists and musicians. Featuring Grammy winner vocalist/percussionist/dancer Dobet Ghanore, accomplished bassist and vocalist Manou Gallo, and new sensation vocalist/guitarist Kareyce Fotso, they will showcase an intoxicating blend of traditional African music, pop, R&B, and dance. All three artists are famous throughout the world on their own, and it will definitely be a special evening when they all join together in our intimate venue. How we are going to contain all that talent in one room is anybody’s guess. We may have to open the doors to the patio for extra dance space.

We hope this has helped give you a better understanding of the wide range of amazing acts we have coming to City Winery Chicago, and entices you to pay us a visit. For more information about our shows and these artists, check out our calendar page!

City Winery Chicago is Taking Shape!

We are moving into the last month of construction and the finishes are starting to take some shape.  The winery equipment arrived and the stainless steel fermenting tanks designed by David Lecomte and manufactured by Vinquip from South Africa are set in place looking really cool.  The tanks will give us a capacity to crush about 90 tons of grapes a season or the equivalent of making 6000 cases of wine.

We have the first prototype of the wine bottle chandeliers hanging in the entrance hall way, the first of 6 and the color needs to conform, but the 6 foot tall bottles will look really cool against the full 30 foot tall glass curtain wall being completed this week.

The bottle wall, which curves along a coat check and will serve as the railing for a staircase up to our mezzanine is being finished now. This will be a really dramatic visual set in the restaurant amongst our large fireplace, and tap tasting bar. The bars and painting get done next week and the floors put in – its taking wonderful shape.

City Winery Chicago Brings the Heat in August!

The offices of City Winery Chicago are at a full-bore excited hum these days as construction nears completion, and the final pieces slide into place. All of our managers get positively giddy when they start talking about City Winery Chicago opening, and every event already on the docket. We are just over a month away from that official opening, and that means the beginning of an incredible month of events to introduce you to our new beautiful, shiny facility and top quality entertainment.

Our first event is a five-night residency from world famous comedian, TV personality, actor, and author, Lewis Black. That’s right, five nights. For those five nights, August 15th-19th, Black will bring his patented brand of anger and outrage at the absurdity of the world to our stage. We couldn’t be happier to have such a talented performer welcome you into our venue for the very first time, and kick off our opening week with a screaming bang.

That’s not where our exciting programming for August ends, though. Oh, absolutely not. How about the following week including back-to-back nights of fantastic music from singer/songwriters Jesse Harris (Wednesday, August 22nd) and Howie Day (Thursday, August 23rd)? What if I were to also say that this one-two punch is followed by yet another? We have not one, but two nights of legendary soul/R&B singer Sam Moore? We’re talking about the “Soul Man” himself for two nights in a row (August 24th and 25th). We then follow that up with another two-night residency from rock ‘n roll legend Lindsey Buckingham (August 26th 27th). Throw in The Waco Brothers, a gumbo and cabernet night with Lost Bayou Ramblers, and two nights with John Sebastian and Jimmy Vivino, and you’ve got one of the greatest opening line-ups a venue could have.

That’s just the music side of things. We also have great programming in our City Winery restaurant and winery. A wine making class with our resident wine maker Robert Kowal in our secluded and plush Barrel room? Check. The beginning of our weekly, and amazing, Klezmer brunch every Sunday morning? Double check (you have to have the bagels and lox). We will even have a dinner hosted by Chicago’s own Greg Hall, owner and operator of Virtue Cider, where he will discuss cider’s versatility coupled with a coursed meal.

It’s hard to beat events like this, and it’s just the first month. For more information on these events, and the many more coming up, check out our calendar here.