The Ivy City club, Love, sat empty for five years until New York entrepreneur Michael Dorf swooped in. With his D.C. winery -- City Winery -- set to open in late April, Dorf brings wine, food, ambiance, and music in one 40,000-square-foot package.

Michael Dorf's career really took off with The Knitting Factory, a famous music venue in New York, which he ended up leaving in 2003. Looking for a change, he took a chance and opened a winery in the middle of Manhattan with a mash-up of food, wine, and what he already knew: live music. Dorf programmed music acts like David Crosby and Gregg Allman, who could draw a “sophisticated” wine-drinking crowd, and the idea took off. Now City Winery has five locations, including Chicago, Boston, Nashville and Atlanta, and in late April, D.C. The D.C. location replaces the former Love nightclub on Okie Street in Northeast, and will feature a Mediterranean restaurant, bar, 300-person seated entertainment venue, private event space, and roof decks over several floors. [caption id="attachment_8297" align="aligncenter" width="720"]winery Courtesy City Winery[/caption]

The Wine

Head winemaker David Lecomte works with vineyards in California and Oregon to grow the grapes, which he cold-ships to the D.C. winery to make Napa Valley cabs, pinot noir from Willamette Valley, and more. The coolest part is that 70 percent of the wine goes right from the barrel to stainless steel kegs with taps. “When you think about how much wine gets consumed, it can be 10, 20, 30 cases of glass every night that we’re saving. That’s a big impact on the environment,” Dorf explained. That being said, City Winery does stock a cellar of around 400 bottles from other wine-makers around the world. The wines, as well as beers and cocktails, are served throughout the venue, including the concert hall and restaurant.

The Acts

[caption id="attachment_8296" align="aligncenter" width="460"]winery Suzanne Vega, Courtesy City Winery[/caption] The D.C. winery plans for around 300 pop, rock, and jazz shows per year — plus the occasional comedy act and private events. Here are just a few upcoming acts and dates: April 29-30: Suzanne Vega May 4: Bob Schneider May 5: Patty Smyth & Scandal May 11: Heather McDonald May 12: Sandra Bernhard May 18-19: Cowboy Mouth with Fred LeBlanc Tickets for the events range from around $22 (bar stool seating) to $60 (VIP seating). Priced between the two extremes, there are also "premier" and "front premier" seats.
About D.C., Dorf says, “It’s a great music town, it’s become a great culinary town. It feels like a great fit.”
What do you think? Are you going to miss the nightclub? Or are you excited to go to the winery once it opens? Let us know in the comments below.

Best D0g-Friendly Spots to Check Out This Spring!