In Fall 2022, Chicago Winery—a full-scale wine-making operation with everything except vineyards—opened in River North. The design-forward facility includes on-view stainless steel fermenting tanks and a barrel room, as well as an event space and Liva, a restaurant with cuisine by Chef Andrew Graves.
“We created a beautiful backdrop where everything is authentic,” says First Batch Hospitality co-founder John Stires. “We like people to see what we do.” Along with the design elements demanded by a working winery, the team took inspiration from Chicago’s history as a transportation hub—especially the glamour of train travel through the area in the 1920s and ’30s.
“We were also influenced by Chicago’s beautiful architecture,” Stires notes. “We wanted to reflect that in our space, so while it’s warm and chic, it also has opulent and even cheeky elements.” And while he thinks the decor will draw guests in, Stires is also excited for visitors to raise a glass of wine that’s been fermented and barreled right in the Windy City.