Celebrate Valentine’s Day in Urban Wine Country at City Winery Chicago

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Sweeten the weekend by indulging your senses at City Winery this romantic holiday!

Join us for an interactive Chocolate and Wine Tasting Party on Thursday, February 14th. Taste exotic chocolate desserts prepared by our Pastry Chef, Stacie Kruse, while sipping wine selections paired by our Beverage Director, Rebekah Mahru. 

Limited tickets remain! Click here for more information & tickets!

Wine & Dine Your Valentine in Urban Wine Country! 

Join us Thursday, February 14 through Saturday, February 16 & enjoy a 3-Course Dinner for Two. In addition to our daily food and beverage offerings and prix fixe menu, we will be featuring special culinary creations, wine pairings, and bubbles bar. Reserve your table now by visiting OpenTable here.

View our special “Dinner for Two” Valentine-Menu here.

10,000 Maniacs return for their Annual Valentine’s Day Run! Purchase your tickets to see them live 2.14 – 2.16! Our Valentine’s Day food features will be available in the Concert Venue. Tickets on sale now: http://bit.ly/10000Maniacs2019CWC

Cyber Monday at City Winery Chicago


Cyber Monday at City Winery Chicago Join us online on 11/27 for special offers!

-Buy a gift card with value of $100 or more and receive a $20 gift card for free
-CyberMusicMonday discounts on select concert tickets.


11.29 – Earl Klugh – 9PM show
11.30 – Rhett Miller w/ special guest Matthew Ryan
12.3 – Jeffrey Foucault & Kris Delmhorst
12.14 – Dwele – 7 PM & 9:30 PM shows
12.19-20 – Bebel Gilberto
12.23 – Michael McDermott – Mischief & Mistletoe – 5PM show
1.1 – BoDeans – 8PM show
1.4 – Bilal
1.7 – Amy Black – The Music of Memphis & Muscle Shoals
1.10 – Tom Cochrane
1.16 – Tracy Nelson & the Bel Airs
1.17 – Davina & the Vagabonds

Note: Online purchases only. No refunds on previous ticket purchases. Normal service fees apply (service fees are calculated based on full value of ticket).


North Bay Fire Relief – How You Can Help

The news out of California has been devastating as fires have ravaged Napa, Sonoma and beyond. As residents and businesses struggle to recover and rebuild, we want to support them in any way we can. There are several ways we can help:

DONATE: A North Bay Fire Relief fund has been set up and you can donate directly here: www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief

DROP OFF: City Winery is collecting items for those in need through October 30th and we ship these items to the North Bay for distribution. Please consider donating:

Non-perishable food
Pet food
Packaged underwear
Phone chargers
Blankets, yoga mats, air mattresses
Face Masks for breathing
Sweatpants & sweatshirts
Sweaters and other warm clothes
Amazon & Target gift cards

DRINK NORTH BAY WINES: We can help wineries, winemakers, vineyards, and others in the wine industry get back on their feet by supporting their businesses. Drink Napa, Sonoma, Mendicino and Lake County wines. Stop by City Winery and ask our staff for our special “Support North Bay” wine list.

ATTEND the upcoming ‘Napa Valley: Then and NOW’ event at City Winery on 11/4 with Kelli White to celebrate the history and legacy of Napa as a community and wine region. We will be featuring a diverse range of wines and regionally inspired dishes to honor and lift up the vintners and growers during this time of rebuilding. Kelli also recommends donating directly to www.redwoodcu.org/northbayfirerelief.

You Never Forget Your First Crush – My Introduction to Winemaking

Hello to all of the City Winery Chicago blog readers out there! My name is Dori, and I am the new marketing intern at City Winery Chicago. First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to catch up on your City Winery news. We are glad to have you! Hopefully you’ll enjoy this post so much you’ll look out for next week’s as well. We will be getting blogs out a little more frequently in the next few months, so let us know if there is anything you’d like to hear about!

A fact you may not know about City Winery Chicago: we are the city’s first and only fully-operational winery. My first week on the job, I got to experience one of the coolest parts about working at a winery: grape delivery & crush. Part of our job as employees of City Winery is to be there for the delivery of these grapes, and we are actually the ones who sort and crush them! What a cool thing to see for someone like me, who has never been exposed to the winemaking world before. And now I’ve been assigned the task of letting you know all about how we make that delicious wine that you get to enjoy.

First off, fellow Bachelor/Bachelorette fans, I know what you might be thinking. When I walked into the winery on that Monday morning, the only image I had in my mind of grape crushing stemmed from the dates on The Bachelor/Bachelorette. Let me tell you (as if you didn’t already know), the standing-in-a-small-barrell-with-another-person-using-your-bare-feet method is not the most efficient (or sanitary). Therefore, you can assume, my grape-crushing knowledge coming into this was far from satisfactory.

To make sure you get the accurate information you deserve as dedicated wine-drinkers, I turned to one of our head winemaker here in Chicago, Robert Kowal. And here is what I learned:


We receive about six to twelve shipments of grapes from various vineyards around the country throughout the year. Eighty to ninety percent of our grapes come from vineyards in California, but we also get them from places like Michigan, Washington, and Oregon. City Winery has contracts with each of these vineyards that spell out each party’s responsibilities. Each vineyard is responsible for the cultivation and quality of the grapes, however, our City Winery winemakers have a lot of say in how these grapes are grown. Things like sprays, fertilization, and most importantly – the pick date – are up to the discretion of City Winery’s winemakers.

Because our winemakers are busy making your wine back here in Chicago, they are unable to visit the vineyards and give their personal opinion on the grapes. To combat this, City Winery employs men and women in different regions around the country who we call ‘vineyard liaisons’. Vineyard liaisons are in charge of visiting the vineyards, and deciding when the grapes are ready to be picked and shipped (otherwise known as, the pick date). These men and women are so crucial to our business back here in Chicago, even though they do their work hundreds of miles away!

Once the date has arrived, the grapes are picked into bins, put onto pallets, and chilled in a truck or packing facility until they are shipped. It is our goal to have them transported as quickly as possible to ensure quality. The majority of the time, the grapes are delivered to us by trucks, but can also be brought to us by train. These shipments are shared among all of the City Winery locations. Because we are the most western location, we normally receive the shipments first. We take our allocated number of tons of grapes from the truck, and then let them go on to the next location, whether that be Nashville, Atlanta, or NYC.

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Once the grapes have arrived at City Winery Chicago, they are unloaded by members of our team. Our sorting crew, comprised of City Winery employees, gets to work right away sorting the grapes. Grapes are sorted first by separating whole clusters from individual berries. Underdeveloped grapes, and MOG (material other than grapes; stems, leaves etc.) are taken out and composted.


The whole clusters are then put into a machine that separates the stem from the grapes. Sometimes, however, depending on what the winemaker decides, the stems are kept and become part of the wine. Now, don’t worry, this tactic is actually used to make more complex wines, not just to scare you. If winemakers do choose to keep the stems, they usually only make up only about ten percent of the actual drink! A small percentage, but it goes a long way in taste.

Once we have all of the good material (i.e. edible things…), huge forklifts move the grapes from their bins into the tanks. The material will sit in the tanks for 2-4 days in a cold soak; this begins the color and taste process without starting the fermentation process. Here, the juice will begin to soak out of the grapes naturally, but to get all that we can out of our grapes, we do a press run that removes the remaining liquid material after the cold soak period. When this is done, the wine is put into barrels, where we age it from anywhere between 8 and 24 months.

As a winery, our biggest priority is maintaining the highest quality of wine for our guests. Our greatest challenge, and thus where we exude our greatest care, is in transportation. We work hard to ensure that our grapes are transported as carefully and quickly as possible. Robert’s goal as winemaker at City Winery Chicago is to provide the “most complete, complex, satisfying drink” for our guests, and for those of you who have visited us before, we hope you agree with that. If you haven’t tried our wine yet, we hope that you will join us soon and be a witness to Robert and the rest of the winemaking team’s hard work!

As a winemaking outsider, I got to see the process from a whole new perspective. Watching the employees dedicate their weekend to sorting and crushing grapes showed me just how passionate this company is about giving you the best wine they can give. These employees are invested in City Winery way more than just a paycheck at the end of the week – they are here to serve you, our guests!

Knowing all that you do now about the winemaking process, it is only right that you come on in and test it out. Our restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to midnight daily, so join us while we make some delicious food to pair with your glass of wine. Exclusive wine and restaurant tours are offered daily at 3:30 and 4:30 PM, and hour-long tours are given every Sunday, all day beginning at 10:30 AM.

To learn about all of the awesome opportunities we have for you at our winery, like tastings, classes, and clubs, follow this link: http://www.citywinery.com/chicago/winemaking.html.

Don’t feel like coming in today? Purchase a bottle of wine from our website and have it shipped to you! We are so excited for you to experience City Winery Chicago.

Tour & Tasting



Help Support Our Friend Marshall Crenshaw

City Winery friend Marshall Crenshaw is working on a documentary on the late great Tom Wilson. Please read on and consider supporting him on the wonderful project!

Hello From Marshall:

As Bob Dylan’s record producer from “Blowin’ In the Wind” through “Like a Rolling Stone,” Tom Wilson signed The Velvet Underground and produced their first two albums. He “discovered” Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, and added electric instruments to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sounds of Silence,” giving them their first hit.

He did all of that and more, but wound up dying a pauper’s death at age 47 in 1978.
WHAT HAPPENED?? This question has been obsessing me since I first caught on to his story just over 2 years ago. Since then I’ve been thinking and researching, making important contacts of all kinds, and have started filming interviews for a Tom Wilson documentary. But I want to keep going and take things to the next level, and for that I need to ask for your support. Ultimately the movie will be a team effort, but right now it’s just me, and hopefully you…

Please follow this link and check out the story:


Thanks for your support & engagement, and hopefully, I’ll see you at the movies!

Marshall Crenshaw

City Winery Chicago Voted No. 2 Venue by XRT Listeners

David Hidalgo at City Winery Chicago


On January 6th we had the great honor of hosting the XRT Listener Polls here at City Winery Chicago. Well, City Winery Chicago made the list for Best Music Venues. We made #2 after our friends at The Chicago Theatre!

We at City Winery Chicago want to thank XRT for nominating City Winery Chicago to be a part of the poll. Along with all of the amazing musicians that perform in our venue, we owe you a very big thank you. Last, but not least, a big thank you to all of our patrons and the people that voted for City Winery Chicago. We would not be here without you!

Best Music Venues

1. The Chicago Theatre
2. City Winery
3. Metro
4. Thalia Hall
5. Vic Theatre
6. Lincoln Hall
7. Wrigley Field
8. SPACE / Evanston
9. FitzGerald’s / Berwyn
10. Schuba’s

For full list of award winners visit: http://wxrt.cbslocal.com/2016/01/07/2015-xrt-music-movies-poll-results/?cid=facebook_93XRT

2016 February Events at City Winery Chicago

Wellington Ukelele Orchestra Performing at City Winery on February 29th

Wellington Ukelele Orchestra Performing at City Winery on February 29th

Happy February from City Winery! We hope that everyone is staying warm this winter. Here are some upcoming events that we hope will make things warmer.

We are starting and ending this month with UKELELES! February 1st and 2nd we have Jake Shimabukaro bringing his Hawaiian Island sounds to warm us up. At the end of the month, February 29thThe Wellington Ukelele Orchestra is joining us all the way from New Zealand! 

City Winery veterans Judy Collins and Ari Hest are collaborating together for two shows here on February 4th and 5th.  A duo you surely don’t want to miss! Meet and greet tickets available.

Do you have any plans for Valentine’s weekend yet?  Well, look no further! On February 12th and 13th10,000 maniacs will be returning for their February residency performing three shows. On the actual Valetine’s Day, February 14thB.J. Thomas, famous for “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head”, will be joining us for two shows at 5 & 8pm.

In case you didn’t hear the news, Eric Burdon and The Animals are coming back due to popular demand!  The band sold out their December 2015 show. So if you did not see them then, now is your chance! They will be here February 15th and 16th.

If you are looking for something a little bit more soothing, do not miss Israeli-French pianist/vocalist Yael Naim on February 22.

For tickets to all events, please follow this link here:

2/1-2 – Jake Shimabukuro

2/3 – Wynonna & the Big Noise – Stories & Song – with Tim & Myles Thompson. Meet & Greet available.

2/4 & 2/5 – Judy Collins & Ari Hest. 

2/7 – Story Sessions Brunch – Super Love

2/7 – Dirty Dozen Brass Band

2/9 – Albert Lee (with full band)

2/11 – Grant Lee Phillips & Steve Poltz. 

2/12 – 10,000 Maniacs – 7pm

2/13 – 10,000 Maniacs – 5 & 8pm shows

2/14 – Chicago Philharmonic Sunday Series -THE CHOCOLATE BOX: A MUSICAL TAKE ON THE FLAVORS OF LOVE- 12 PM show

2/14 – BJ Thomas – 5 & 8pm shows

2/15 & 16 – Eric Burdon & The Animals

2/17 – Buckwheat Zydeco

2/17 – Wine School : Winter Series – North America – Washington*

2/17 – La Spinetta and Contratto with Giorgio Rivetti wine dinner

2/18 – Claire Lynch Band & the Quebe Sisters.

2/19 – Eryn Allen Kane. Silver Wrapper, Community & City Winery present.

2/19 – Ale Syndicate Beer Dinner

2/20 – Lyfe Jennings – 7pm & 10pm shows

2/21 – Sierra Hull with Forlorn Strangers

2/22 – Yael Naim

2/23 – A Palo Seco – Chicago Flamenco Festival

2/24 – The Duhks

2/24 – Winemaking School : Wine and Weight**

2/25 & 26 – Howie Day

2/28 – An Evening With DEACON BLUES featuring Grammy® Winner SUGAR BLUE with Chicago Bass Legend WALLY HUSTIN (America’s Premier Tribute to STEELY DAN)- 7PM show

2/29 – The Wellington International Ukelele Orchestra

*Wine School – Winter Series 2016 – NW United States. $140 for all 3 classes or $60 individually:

01/20 Wednesday– Wine School: California

02/17 Wednesday – Wine School: Washington

03/23 Wednesday– Wine School: Oregon

** Winter 2016 Winemaking Series – $140 for all 3 classes or $60 individually:

01/13 Wednesday– Winemaking School : Wine and Time,

02/24 Wednesday– Winemaking School : Wine and Weight

03/30 Wednesday– Winemaking School : Fining and Filtration

2015 Holiday Shows at City Winery Chicago


City Winery Chicago announces a slate of holiday shows in December, including Shemekia Copeland’s Holiday Party and Michael McDermott’s Mischief & Mistletoe three-night stand. The holiday season kicks off December 6 with holiday favorites from honky-tonk home-towners The Empty Pockets and a southern Christmas concert with Bayou Soul man Marc Broussard on Dec. 8.  Rhett Miller brings his Holiday Extravaganza Show with Nora O’Connor and Gerald Dowd on Dec. 10. Daytime offerings include the family-friendly Stomp Your Feet to the Jammin Beat Holiday Magic edition on Saturday, Dec. 19 and a Chicago Philharmonic Chamber Players’ cool jazz brunch concert St. Nick in Shades the next day.

The Empty Pockets return to their Chicago hometown for this special evening of music filled with critically acclaimed originals and holiday favorites on Sunday, Dec. 6. The Pockets craft rootsy, often-cerebral and always-catchy Midwest Americana rock ’n’ roll with a smack of Texas saloon and a taste of Motown soul. Madison, Wisconsin-based singer-songwriter Mark Croft and soulful Ohio songwriter Nate Jones open.

Lead singer of The Old 97’s Rhett Miller brings his Holiday Extravangza show with special guests Nora O’Connor and Gerald Dowd. In addition to his music being featured in film and television, Rhett has appeared in an episode of the NBC series 30 Rock, and the Old 97’s were prominently featured in the Vince Vaughn-Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy, The Break Up. Primarily known for his songwriting and awe-inspiring live performances, Rhett is also a critically acclaimed author whose work has appeared in several books and periodicals including Rolling Stone, McSweeney’s and The Atlantic.

The Kids’ Concert Series – Holiday Magic on Saturday, Dec. 19, noon will help with environmental awareness, neighborhood diversity and the ability of everyone to make his or her own music are just a few of the themes covered in this lively entertaining program of songs and stories for children and all ages. Selections from Parents Choice Award-winning CD’s I Like Gum and Brighter Than Fireflies encourage the audience to clap their hands, stomp their feet and sing along to the jammin’ beats with Amy Lowe and guitar & drum duo KingKatz (Dave Katzman and Mike Rodbard).

Chicago Philharmonic Sunday Series – St. Nick in Shades: Fresh Riffs on Holiday Tunes, taking place on Sunday, Dec. 20 features vocal stylist Cheryl Wilson who sings a cool program of holiday favorites that runs the gamut from jazz tunes like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” to classical pieces like “Oh Holy Night” and pop hits like “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Wilson – who has collaborated with artists as diverse as Michael Jackson, Mavis Staples and Celine Dion – navigates this varied terrain with her versatile voice. Jim Gailloreto struts his stuff as he expertly showcases the colorful sounds of the woodwind family, including various saxophones and flutes. And pianist Jeremy Kahn tempers the afternoon’s wide-ranging program with a jazz flavor.

Heir to the rich tradition of soul-drenched divas like Ruth Brown, Etta James and Koko Taylor, blast-furnace voiced Shemekia Copeland was presented with Taylor’s crown by her daughter at the 2011 Chicago Blues Festival and given the honor of the new “Queen of the Blues” by official proclamation of the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois. On Sunday, Dec. 2o she performs a holiday-themed show, Shemekia Copeland’s Holiday Party.

Described by author Stephen King as “one of the best songwriters in the world and possibly the greatest undiscovered rock ’n’ roll talent of the last 20 years,” Michael McDermott’s brand of rock ’n’ roll brims with the kind of well-honed style and wisdom that can only come from a career on the road and a pedigree in the studio. Effortlessly blending natural folk sensibility, pop hooks and honest rock, McDermott’s music is as much for the outcast as the congregation. It’s an exploration of the dark corners of life’s journey and it resonates middle class truths through the passionate filter of a kid that grew up on Chicago’s Irish South Side. Michael McDermott – Mischief & Mistletoe will have a three night stretch starting on Monday, Dec. 21 is an all-request show. Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 22 & 23, are “Best Of” shows of songs from his entire catalogue: the hits, the radio songs, the movie songs, the TV songs, the ballads and barn burners alike; for those new to McDermott’s music, these are arguably the best shows you will see all year.

For New Year’s Eve, (Thursday, Dec. 31, 7:30pm & 11pm) pedal steel guitar virtuoso Robert Randolph – one of Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” – returns to City Winery with longtime accompanists, the Family Band, comprising the guitarist’s actual family members Marcus Randolph, Danyel Morgan and Lenesha Randolph, together with guitarist Brett Haas. Their joyous, upbeat 2013 album Lickety Split – Randolph’s first studio recording in three years – features 11 original compositions, plus a stomping cover of “Love Rollercoaster” by the Ohio Players, showcasing the band’s unique chemistry. New Year’s Eve shows include a glass of bubbly for a toast.

Tickets for holiday programs at City Winery Chicago are on sale now on the website.


Rebekah Mahru, Certified Sommelier, Leads South African Wine Tasting Party

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City Winery Chicago is thrilled to have four sommeliers on our wine team. Rebekah Mahru took a 10 day trip to South Africa and upon returning, led the South African Wine Tasting Party on September 29th, 2015. Mahru is lead sommelier at City Winery Chicago and assists the Beverage Director, Rachel Driver Speckan.

You may be wondering why South Africa of all places. According to Mahru, South Africa is “an up and coming wine region that doesn’t have an identity because they make everything.” Some regions are well known for certain wines but South Africa is not one of them. It wasn’t until around the 1990s that South Africa wines and wineries began to have some momentum. It was a slow process initially, but it’s been picking up in recent years.

On her trip, Mahru attended a wine convention and had the opportunity to meet with all of the winemakers and taste all of the wines that were featured at City Winery Chicago’s South African Wine Tasting Party. At the party, there were 3o attendees, and there were three wine stations that featured Catherine Marshall Wines: 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Chenin Blanc, 2012 Pinot Noir ,2012 Pinot Noir Reserve, 2011 Peter’s Vision Merlot, and Mahru’s personal favorite, 2009 sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay.

The South African Wine Tasting Party featured one of South Africa’s top importers, Blue Crane. They offered a great wine list that featured sparkling whites, reds, and more. It was a very casual, relaxing evening with great friends and great wine.

For more information on upcoming City Winery Chicago wine events click here.

2015 November Events at City Winery Chicago


As unbelievable as it seems, November has arrived! And with that, a new slate of fall shows are happening here at City Winery Chicago.

On November 15, the Bluegrass Ball with The Travelin’ McCourys and Drew Emmitt and Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon will perform two shows: 5 pm and 8 pm.

Singer/songwriters Matthew Perryman Jones & Leigh Nash (of Sixpence None the Richer) will take the stage on November 16. Perryman will perform many of his hits including those that have been featured on numerous television shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Pretty Little Liars, One Tree Hill, and many more.

The British R&B group, Loose Ends, featuring Jane Eugene, will be coming to Chicago on November 17 to play some of their hits like “Hangin’ on a String (Contemplating)” and “Slow Down.”

So many amazing events happening here at City Winery Chicago this month, be sure to stop by and catch a few!

For tickets to all events, follow this link: Events Calendar.

11/1 – Foghorn Stringband (4:00 p.m. show)

11/1 – The Tubes featuring Fee Waybill (8:30 p.m. show)

11/2 – Funkadesi

11/4 – John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful

11/5 – Tom Paxton with special guest Michael J. Miles

11/6 – Italian Wine Dinner: Pisoni

11/8 – Chicago Folklore Ensemble presents: The World in Chicago (brunch)

11/8 – The Polyphonic Spree 15th Anniversary Tour with special guest The Sharp Things (8pm)

11/9 – Sparkling Wine Dinner: L. Mawby Winery

11/9 – Howard Jones (solo) The Songs, The Piano & The Stories.

11/10 – Vanessa Carlton with special guest Joshua Hyslop

11/11 – City Winery Wine School: France- Burgundy/Jura/Rhone

11/11 – Everclear 20th Anniversary: Sparkle & Fade (7 & 10 p.m.)

11/12 – Mason Jennings (7pm)

11/13 – Saint Supery Wine Dinner: Napa Valley

11/13 – Susan Werner: 20th Anniversary of The Last of the Good Straight Girls with special guest Sam Baker

11/14 – Kids’ Concert Series with Amy Lowe & King Katz: Thanksgiving Hoe Down (Noon matinee show)

11/14 – Paula Cole with special guest Mark Erelli

11/15 – Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago presents Songs @ City Winery: A Sunday Cabaret with Julia Hardin, mezzo-soprano; Shannon McGinnia, piano (Noon matinee show)

11/15 – Bluegrass Ball with The Travelin’ Mccourys and Drew Emmitt and Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon (5 & 8 p.m.)

11/16 -Matthew Perryman Jones & Leigh Nash (of Sixpence None the Richer)

11/17 – Loose Ends ft Jane Eugene – 7pm

11/18 – City Winery Wine School: Holiday and Food Pairing Class

11/18 & 19 – Macy Gray with special guest Valise

11/20 – Pinot Noir Tasting Party

11/20 – Ari Hest with special guest PM Buys

11/22 – Chicago Philharmonic Sunday Series – Feelin’ Good: Grooving Music from Nina Simone, Zvonimir Tot, Gershwin & Beyond

11/22 – Kate Voegele 7 pm

11/23 – 2nd Story

11/24 – Musiq Soulchild (7:00 & 9:30 p.m.)

11/25 – Musiq Soulchild (7:30 & 10 p.m.)

11/27 – Joseph Arthur & Chuck Prophet

11/29 – Eric Burdon & the Animals

11/30 – Scotch Seminar: The Balveine Distillery (5 & 7 p.m.)

11/30 – Down the Rabbit Hole with Mark Tarlov and Joseph Spellman, Master Sommelier

11/30 – Louis Prima Jr & the Witnesses