City Winery DC relocating due to crime in Ivy City

City Winery is temporarily closing in D.C. over safety concerns in Ivy City.

FOX 5 spoke with the founder and CEO, Michael Dorf, who said this was a tough decision to make. He has over 100 employees who are like family and he cares about their safety. He says staff and customers have experienced car break-ins, assaults, robberies, and have heard gunshots daily.

"This is a very awkward moment for us because we don’t want people to think that we don’t care about the community in particular the diversity around Ivy City. We are a multi-cultural company and organization and I hope pretty woke as a business and this decision is purely economic," said Dorf.

Dorf says City Winery has been losing millions of dollars every year and not getting support from the landlord and developer that was originally promised when the business opened back in 2017.

City Winery is dealing with wedding and private party cancellations because people don’t feel comfortable walking around the Ivy City neighborhood and are worried about their safety. Dorf mentioned there’s a homeless shelter nearby that presents an even deeper issue.

FOX 5’s Sierra Fox asked Dorf if he feels DC Police and government are doing enough to improve the area. He said no. 

"We’ve tried to organize some community meetings. We tried to get a bunch of the restaurants and a bunch of retail in the area unfortunately half of those neighbors of ours have closed their doors as well either post pandemic or more recently," said Dorf. "I like the Mayor in general and what they’ve been doing, but have not seen the connection to our block."

Dorf said City Winery is "actively looking for a new D.C. location to relocate." When asked what area he would feel more safe operating a business, he said he didn’t want to disclose that information at this time.

"This is not our business plan to opening and shut. We’re trying to bring music and wine to people, that’s our business model and we want to keep doing that," said Dorf.

Until then, a number of musicians shared on Twitter that their bookings at City Winery D.C. in the new year were canceled due to the venue closing on January 1st, 2023. Other performances have been moved to different venues in the DC area.