City Winery in Chicago’s West Loop started out in the early 1920’s as a butcher shop. Several years later it became Chicago’s first frozen food distribution warehouse, in a neighborhood chock-full of food suppliers and meatpackers. In 2011, City Winery began transforming and expanding the structure into a concert hall plus winery and restaurant. Where an old walk-in freezer used to be, guests now enjoy a spacious lobby overlooking a patio and garden. Passersby can catch a glimpse of the winery’s fermenting tanks through oversized windows punched out of the building façade. The 33,000-square-foot venue opened for business in 2012.
City Winery employs expert winemakers to make their wines. One winemaker’s former career? Architect.
Green Upgrade Details
Throughout the new, improved structure is a wealth of materials reclaimed from the century-old warehouse. Salvaged oak beams were turned into tables and stairs, and old floorboards repurposed into wall trim. Bricks were reused to construct the box office, archways, and other interior elements. Terra cotta tiles from the façade became the border separating the patio from the garden. Echoing the winery theme, wine bottles, barrels, and corks were converted into decorative walls, barriers, sound baffles, light fixtures, and signs.
The old warehouse’s western wall was opened up and brick was replaced by double-insulated glass walls, allowing abundant light into the lobby during the day, while shielding it from Chicago’s temperature extremes.
City Winery is committed to using sustainable practices in their day-to-day operations. For example, yeast left over from wine fermentation is recycled into the restaurant’s flatbread or mixed into compost for the outdoor garden, where herbs, vegetables, and (of course) grapes are grown.
Christopher Warnick Architecture
Phillip Katz Project Development (PKPD)
Summit Design + Build