City Winery to open a new location in Grand Central

April 27, 2022

Photo courtesy of Stephen H on Unsplash

Performance venue and restaurant chain City Winery will open a new location at one of the city’s busiest transit hubs. As first reported by Gothamist, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Monday approved a license for a restaurant and bar to take up nearly 16,000 square feet of space in Grand Central Terminal, at the western end of Vanderbilt Hall.

According to MTA documents, City Winery intends to offer grab and go service and a full-service restaurant and bar. “Although they are known for their live music events, this location will focus on their farm-to-table menu, their unique selection of wine with ambient background music,” the license agreement reads.

City Winery will rent the space for three years, with an option to extend the lease for two more years. They will pay a $500,000 licensing fee and 8 percent of gross sales during their first year. For their second year, they will pay a licensing fee of $750,000 and 9 percent of sales, and $1 million and 10 percent of sales for their third year. If they choose to extend for the final two years, they will pay a $1.1 million licensing fee for the first year and $1.2 million for the second year, with 10 percent of sales as well.

According to Gothamist, the MTA has been testing out the decibel level of musicians during lunch and evening rush hours to get a sense of the levels of noise live music in the venue could create. They aim to keep noise levels under 90 decibels, which is the sound of a passing subway train.

“It’s kind of cabaret seating around a small pedestal, and we’ve limited the ensemble to four pieces,” David Florio, MTA Chief Real Estate Transactions and Operations Officer, said during Monday’s meeting. “It’s really intended to be ambient music, which supports a full-blown food and beverage use in the old main waiting area [in Vanderbilt Hall] and then also a gastropub in the interior space.”

The agency issued a request for proposals for the space in September 2020 and settled on City Winery after considering more than 20 other retailers. Michael Dorf, Founder and CEO of City Winery, told Gothamist he was unable to discuss the new venue as the lease hasn’t been officially signed.

The Grand Central location will be City Winery’s fourth New York City venue. Dorf opened the flagship location in October 2020 at Hudson River Park’s Pier 57. Other NYC locations include an outdoor garden at Rockefeller Center and the City Vineyard in Tribeca.


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