We’re not sure if anyone has coined the term “restavenuery,” but that’s my new word for the rad restaurant/music venue/winery that is City Winery Atlanta. The space literally covers every aspect of a night out on the town — tasty food, on-site winery and a cool music venue that hosts awesome visiting musicians.
Since “restavenuery” doesn’t roll off the tongue, it’s a good thing that we in Atlanta are lucky to have City Winery. It’s a unique combination of culinary and cultural experiences and is the perfect place to end a work day with delicious drinks, start the weekend with a great concert and fill up on some fabulous Mediterranean food.
Located at the always fabulous Ponce City Market, City Winery Atlanta’s hybrid status makes it a must-visit. And though we highly recommend getting a ticket to one of the fabulous shows coming to the venue (ring in the new year with the Indigo Girls, for example), concert tickets aren’t required to enter. Instead of walking downstairs into the intimate concert hall, stay on the main level, order a glass of wine (created right on the premises) from the tap, and of course, order a plate of something tasty.
When I stopped by, Marc Broussard was that night’s performer and ticket holders filed through City Winery. And here’s where this hotspot gets interesting when it comes to dining options: If you have tickets for the show, you don’t have to make any reservations for dinner. Those seats are yours for the evening (beginning two hours before the show’s start time), and you can order from the venue menu (general admission shows have a first come, first served set up with no reservations accepted). If you’re there solely for the food, make a reservation for the dining room and get your entertainment in the form of people watching around the busy complex.
Onto what you really care about — the food and drinks of course! The menu follows a Mediterranean-inspired vibe, so of course we had to start our meal with the Mediterranean Dip Trio for 2, $12 (you can also order a larger portion for four people for $22). The starter comes with roasted red pepper hummus, baba ganoush and rustic artichoke and olive tapenade, all served with grilled pita bread. The whole dish was delicious — those pita bread triangles were especially tasty. In fact, they could have been smothered in Vegemite, and I would have gobbled them up. Another tasty shareable-type dish is the Crispy Risotto Balls, $12, featuring risotto croquettes, pancetta, asparagus and a few other tasty ingredients.
My dining companion ordered the Duck Confit Tacos, $14, as his main course. This slow-braised, hand-pulled duck, served with gucamatillo salsa (so delish), jicama cabbage slaw and fresh corn tortillas, is plated in the sweetest way. The dish arrives at the table on a wooden board, as a modern do-it-yourself setup, including the pulled duck in its own charming ceramic serving pot. I chose the Vegetable Farrotto, $17, featuring a mushroom medley, vegetables and mascarpone cheese. I wanted to stay on the lighter side of things and was happy with my vegetarian-friendly option.
If you’d like to stay in the South without a visit to the Mediterranean flavor profile, City Winery Atlanta offers a delicious shrimp ‘n grits plate, $25, with Cajun-spiced shrimp and smoked gouda and tomato grits, as well as buttermilk fried chicken, $21, and pan-seared trout, $18.
Of course, we can’t talk about City Winery Atlanta without talking about the wine! There are over 400 bottles of wine to choose from, but if you want to go the authentic route, hit up the wines on tap. That’s right, I said “tap.” City Winery brings their own wines straight from the barrels in their cellar into stainless steel kegs, preserving it with a thin layer of nitrogen. That means there are no bottles, corks or labels. For these tap wines, you can either get a glass (163 mL pour), half carafe (375 mL) or a large carafe (750 mL), with the prices varying on the varietal that’s ordered. I chose the Syrah-Grenache Rose, 2015 France ($10/glass) with a sweeter, lighter tone; my guest chose the Riesling, 2015, Finger Lakes, NY ($10/glass) with a crisper finish. Neither of us know much about wine, so we went with 1) wines we’ve heard of, 2) the recommendations of our server, and 3) what sounded tasty at that specific moment.
City Winery comes from the founder of New York’s iconic music venue Knitting Factory, Michael Dorf, who created a space combining his love for live music and wine. Atlanta’s location is the newest, as the “restavenuery” has venues in Chicago, Nashville, Boston and, of course, New York City.
Besides all the many musical acts coming to City Winery Atlanta on a nightly basis (check the calendar about upcoming shows as well as purchasing tickets online), the venue always has something going on. Reverse Happy Hour, Fanday Friday, Wine Down Weekends and more — the promotional events always have a great way to entice diners and drinkers, some that even include free patio shows. Again keep your eyes open on this restavenuery as fun is always ready to be had in every corner of City Winery Atlanta.
City Winery Atlanta is located at 650 North Ave., Atlanta, GA 30308 (inside Ponce City Market). For more information about the restaurant, box office questions and more, call (404) WINERY1 or visit citywinery.com/atlanta.
Want some more ideas of where to dine out in Atlanta? Check out our yummy articles here!