By Noah Schaffer
Much of the Boston music scene coverage in 2015 revolved around venue closings.
Now comes word of an October 2016 opening that could fill some of the gaps created by the shuttering of Johnny D’s next month.
New York-based chain City Winery has signed a lease that will place it in the One Canal complex in Bullfinch Triangle, the neighborhood in between North Station, Haymarket and the North End. The lease was first reported by the national real estate trade publication GlobeSt.com.
City Winery presently operates venues in New York, Nashville, and Chicago, all of which seat around 300. And seat is the operative word. Founder Michael Dorf recently told Billboard that the chain is “going for a sort of older demographic who have disposable income and are very underserved. These audiences don’t want to stand, they want to sit, they want to be treated in a much more refined way and many of them are pressed for time.”
That means regular appearances from classic rockers like Graham Nash and Americana favorites Alejandro Escovedo, Los Lobos, and John Hiatt, plus a smattering of folk, jazz, blues, R&B, world and comedy artists. The trend of offering an eclectic lineup for older audiences in a mostly seated, intimate environment has a been a big hit in the Boston suburbs, as shown by the success of the Tupelo in Londonderry, N.H., the Bull Run in Shirley and the Narrows in Fall River.
In the immediate Boston area Johnny D’s may have had the closest booking philosophy, but the venue will definitely be competing for touring talent with many established local venues. A glance at the calendars for the three current City Winery locations shows artists that have recently played Boston rooms that include the Wilbur, Club Passim, The Sinclair, Regattabar, Paradise Rock Club, Brighton Music Hall, Scullers Jazz Club and at the Somerville Theatre for World Music/CRASHArts.
As the name implies, the City Winery locations also offer activities that revolve around making and drinking wine as well as restaurants which offer non-concert seating.