New Kid on the Block: City Vineyard

City Vineyard upstairs bar facing south“When this opportunity came up, I was aggressive as I could be,” says Michael Dorf, the Tribeca resident who founded the Knitting Factory, City Winery, and now City Vineyard at Pier 26. “I’ve been running up and down the river forever—since 10 years before 9/11. I just love being on the water.”

City Vineyard from the southThe riverside location on public parkland also makes for challenges; City Vineyard’s official opening, scheduled for tomorrow, has morphed into a longer, slower debut. The kitchen doesn’t expect to have gas for another two weeks, so the small preview menu’s cold offerings are expanding as they get perfected—not such a bad thing in this weather. The emphasis is on wine, naturally, and City Vineyard wine on tap, in particular; you can also buy other winemakers’ wines by the glass and bottle, as well as beer and cocktails. The hours are currently 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. (Sunday through Wednesday) and midnight (Thursday through Saturday), but it’ll soon open at 11 a.m.

City Vineyard has two distinct areas: The interior space on the ground floor (seating around 75) and the outside tables facing West Street will be reservable on OpenTable; the “restaurant menu” will be somewhat fancier than the “patio menu” available at the other outdoor spaces on the ground floor and on the dramatic roof deck (where reservations will not be taken).

To develop the menu, which has not been released yet, the City Winery culinary team—there are also outposts in Atlanta, Chicago, Nashville and, soon, Boston—tried to determine what would work best in such a special environment. “When you’re on the water, there’s a tendency—a natural collective unconscious—to crave seafood,” says Dorf. The menu both draws on City Winery’s successful seafood preparations and creates new ones. “For instance, we knew we wanted a lobster roll. To make it City Winery-ish, we’re serving it with a cole slaw using wine, Cabernet or Merlot. And we already make all of our flatbreads and pizzas using wine lees—so wouldn’t it be cool to do the same thing for the bun?”

City Vineyard inside tableWith huge windows on three sides, the decor inside defers to the views, but there are also comfortable leather chairs, a beautiful woven-wood ceiling, and (soon) a large light fixture meant to resemble a bunch of grapes. Refreshingly, tables are widely spaced. The patios and roof are more bare-bones, but they’ll eventually be accented by actual grapevines. “The RFP said the tenant should be like a park in nature,” says Dorf. “What could be more appropriate than vines and a vineyard?” The grapes, which won’t be used to make wine, are an experimental variety bred by Cornell to survive the cold. There are currently no plans for live music, but the Hudson River Park Trust has expressed interest in small concerts facing out toward the water, and Dorf says that in winter, he may turn to music “if it feels like we need that.”

Note: The last photo below is of the north side of the roof deck, and it can be rented for private events.

City Vineyard is at 233 West (at the base of Pier 26, between Hubert and N. Moore), 212-608-0555; It’s open from 11 a.m. to “midnight-ish.”

City Vineyard ground floor west sideCity Vineyard inside ground floorCity Vineyard upstairs south sideCity Vineyard upstairs barCity Vineyard upstairs north side also for private eventsRecent New Kid on the Block / First Impressions articles:
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Shake Shack Fulton Center
Hank’s Juicy Beef
Aahar Indian Cuisine
Pure Barre
Kung Fu Tea
Sapar Contemporary



  1. Hey Mike…….
    This is incredible!!!!!!!
    Lots of good luck to you!
    Hopefully I will get to NY so I can see it in person!

  2. WOW! A real jewel for NYC. Good luck in your newest endeavor.

  3. As beautiful as this place looks, I don’t know that this is really serving the people who most use the Hudson Park areas. I wish them all the success their investment requires. But do joggers, bikers, nannies, seniors, families, youths, need another wine bar there? Same here: I don’t think so. I’m aware that rents must be astronomical and maybe an expensive-ticket kind of place was called for. But could we not have had a multi-location type of retails selling coffee, snacks, ice-creams, burgers&hotdogs, Chinese bubble teas, etc….Something that would have served all park users at all time of opening hours? If a poll had been taken, how many people would have said, yeah, we want a fancy wine bar there…? Especially so close from the City Winery, and the oyster-bar/clipper on the river nearby….again, no animosity here and best of luck to risk-taking entrepreneurs. Its just that seeing this place empty all day (it gets busy around 5pm) while hundreds of people could be served in their daily needs is a bit jarring.