155 Varick St.
It’s a tale as old as time: experimental music man leaves his band days behind for good wine, fine food, and intimate acoustic sessions. Such is the case of Michael Dorf—onetime Knitting Factory mastermind, now the force behind Soho’s equally ambitious City Winery. The cavernous Varick Street space houses Manhattan’s first full-service winery in decades, and enthusiasts willing to part with a few thousand can lay claim to a barrel in the basement and craft their own wine from grape to bottle. For the less commitment-inclined, City Winery’s 21,000-square-foot house a wine bar, Murray’s Cheese bar, a wine-focused restaurant, and a stage for musical talent ranging from Philip Glass to Joan Osborne. The lofty, rustic space recalls California more than Manhattan, allowing you (and your wine) room to breathe; and though City Winery clearly courts bottle-buying sophisticates, many wines by the glass sell for under $10. Structured tastings, winemaking seminars, cheese courses, and a family-friendly Sunday brunch (with bagels, lox, and live music) round out the events calendar.