Picture a Venn Diagram. No, really, do it. We’ll wait. One circle represents all the places to drink good wine in New York City. It’s a big-ass circle, full of natural wine bars, white tablecloth restaurants, and your apartment when someone brings over a bottle that costs more than $12. The other circle has all the places to drink outside in the summer, filled with rooftops, boats, beer gardens, and patios. As for the middle part of this diagram, where good wine and good outdoor space overlap - it’s pretty tiny. But at least there’s City Vineyard.
City Vineyard is a two-floor restaurant and wine bar on the Hudson River in Tribeca. You could technically have dinner in the indoor dining room, but we’d suggest you skip that in favor of the massive roof deck. Both it and the ground-floor wine garden are big enough to fit everyone in your office Slack channel on Summer Fridays, and it’s walking distance from FiDi, Soho, Tribeca, and the West Village. More importantly, it has panoramic views of downtown Manhattan and the river.
Those views are great, but the wine is what really separates City Vineyard from every other giant outdoor bar that serves $18 glasses of sparkling rosé and cocktails that look like they glow in the dark. The 30-page wine list at City Vineyard would be worth a trip even without the ’80s hip-hop on the speakers and the sunsets over the water.
This place is an offshoot of City Winery, a bar nearby that makes its own wines, many of which are served on tap at City Vineyard. Since they don’t have to spend money bottling or labeling, and the wines last months rather than hours, you can get fresh, consistent riesling and pinot noir on tap here at relatively affordable prices. The rest of the huge wine list has famous and unusual options from all over the world - but City Vineyard doesn’t take itself too seriously. Nobody here will roll their eyes if you ask for some seltzer and turn your Sancerre into a spritz.
You’ll be happy enough with some seafood share plates like baked clams and calamari on your table, and maybe after that fourth flight of house wines, get the burger with gruyere. If you’ve never chased oysters with Muscadet, City Vineyard would also be a good place to change that.
Can you get better bar food at other places around the city? Absolutely. But you don’t come here for the food. You come to City Vineyard because you want to have good wine outside, and you don’t want to drink Barolo out of solo cups in the park or nearly frozen Pinot Grigio on crowded hotel rooftops. You want a spot right in the middle of that Venn Diagram. Your middle school math teacher would be proud.
You’re drinking wine outside and sitting along the river - you should be eating oysters. At City Vineyard, this can get pretty expensive (they’re around $3 each), but oysters and Muscadet (or Chablis) is one of the greatest food and wine pairings, and you deserve nice things.
The roasted butter and breadcrumbs give these some crunch, but they still taste briny and clammy. We like these, but we’d rather just have another round of oysters.
This is pretty standard fried calamari. $15 seems a little steep, but it’s a good share plate to keep on the table for people to pick at. Apply the tarragon aioli liberally.
This definitely does not need to be on your table. The salmon is bland, and all you really taste are the herbs and the sweet potato chips.
If you want something heavier than oysters and calamari, get this burger with gruyere, tomato aioli, and a lot of onions. Just know that when they say rare, they mean it. Ours came out kind of like tartare.
This is loaded with whole shrimp and topped with some very good aioli. The fresh baked bread comes out warm, and there are a lot of fries on the side to help lay a base before another bottle of wine.