City Winery Cultivates Ponce City Music

City Winery Cultivates Ponce City Music

The Jewish founder of national concert venue chain City Winery says Atlanta is great market for expanding his creation.

David R. Cohen

David R. Cohen is the former Associate Editor of the Atlanta Jewish Times. He is originally from Marietta, GA and studied Journalism at the University of Tennessee.

Jewish entrepreneur Michael Dorf is bringing his New York-founded City Winery concept to Ponce City Market.
Jewish entrepreneur Michael Dorf is bringing his New York-founded City Winery concept to Ponce City Market.

With Ponce City Market hitting its stride in Midtown Atlanta, a music venue is set to open in the 2.1-million-square-foot project in time for summer.

One part restaurant, one part lounge and one part concert venue, City Winery will host its first performances in June after construction delays forced the postponement of a schedule of May concerts. Atlanta will be the fifth city for the business, after New York (two locations), Chicago (two locations), Boston and Nashville.

“Atlanta is a great city and a great market,” said Jewish entrepreneur Michael Dorf, who founded City Winery in New York eight years ago. “We had some great success in Nashville, so we felt good about another location in the South. I looked around Atlanta for a good year trying to find the perfect neighborhood for City Winery, and we think Ponce City Market is going to be a huge draw.”

Dorf, the founder of New York music venue the Knitting Factory, opened City Winery to combine his interests in wine and music. The idea is to bring to the city a wine country experience of house-made wine and chef-driven cuisine, along with top music acts.

The Ponce City Market location will cover around 26,000 square feet over two levels. Performers scheduled for this summer include David Broza, Don McLean, Asleep at the Wheel and Shawn Mullins.

Dorf said he considers numerous factors before opening City Winery in a new location, such as population, wine consumption and the local music infrastructure. The entrepreneur also said a large Jewish community is an important factor.

“I believe that it’s part of an indicator for us that the market will have an overall mix of people who will be interested in our type of programming,” Dorf said. “We found that Atlanta has a fairly large Jewish community and thought that our programming would be met very positively by the locals.”

Jewish rocker Peter Wolf, former lead singer of the J. Geils Band, will have the distinction of being the first act at Atlanta’s City Winery on Friday, June 3.

Steve’s Live Music Announces Closing

Just as a Jewish-owned music venue is opening in Midtown, another is closing in Sandy Springs.

Steve Grossman announced Wednesday, April 6, on Facebook that he will close Steve’s Live Music in June after four years of operation, although he is continuing the brand by promoting “Steve’s Live Music Presents” shows at other venues. The first such show was Neil Young/Tom Petty jam session Friday, April 8, at 5 Seasons Brewing in Sandy Springs.

Grossman told the AJT in January that he would close his venue on Hilderbrand Drive if he couldn’t find a partner to take over the food operations, for which he lacks the passion he holds for music.

read more: