Yep, the verdict is in, and City Winery is officially the classiest place to see a show in New York City. The Paula Cole show I saw there a few nights ago (thanks, Jukely) marked my second ever time at this venue – the first time was last year for Robby Krieger of The Doors (thanks Jukely, yet again).
As a fan of electronic music, I’m used to seeing shows in a pretty grimy atmosphere. There are drunk teenagers and elbows shoving into you and beer-soaked sticky floors. But I don’t complain because I love the music and obviously this is how I choose to spend my time. But I will say that the 2 evenings I’ve spent at City Winery have been a much-welcomed breath of fresh air.
City Winery is not so much a music venue as it is a restaurant that also offers entertainment. You are required to buy a ticket for concert events, but in addition to getting an assigned seat (which is pretty rare for the shows I go to to begin with), you have the option of ordering what I assume to be delicious food and wine (I’ve never tried anything from the menu). Even if you don’t eat or drink, though, they still leave a carafe of water and glasses at your table which is pretty nice, especially when most of the venues I go to charge $5 for a Poland Spring bottle and they don’t even let you keep the cap. Point: City Winery.
The space is pretty rustic, with candles adorning every table and columns made to look like elegant trees. You’re allowed to sit down to eat up to 2 hours before the show starts, and the show actually starts at the time stated (no opening acts, hooray!). The music is never too loud. The audience is always polite. There is minimal cell phone usage. Nothing is rowdy or crazy. Just some classy people listening to classy music drinking their classy drinks in a classy establishment. It is so pleasant, and so unlike the bulk of my live music experiences.
When I saw Robby Krieger at City Winery I was given a table for 4 all to myself, in a pretty prime spot that, according to the ticket prices listed on their website, would have cost me around $100. It was awesome. For Paula Cola I was seated way in the back corner at a table with a few other Jukely randoms, but even that seat had a solid view and had Paula Cole been a little more my type of music, I would have really enjoyed it (she is insanely talented, but I got a little bored after awhile).
While City Winery likely doesn’t get too many artists that I would pay full price to see, it’s been really fun having the opportunity to see music in a sort of cool adult setting for a change. And now back to my regularly scheduled sweaty dance fests.