WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — A wine bar and event space in Ivy City is closing and relocating due to safety concerns.

According to Farrah Spruill, Marketing Director for City Winery in DC, the location will close in the New Year. Its last day open is January 1, 2023.

In a statement, Spruill said, “While we have tried hard since 2018 to be part of the resurgence of Ivy City, in particular, the development of Okie Street around the Hecht Warehouse area, we need to be responsible to our staff, customers and the many musicians regarding their safety. It is difficult enough operating a cultural facility in a challenging economic environment, but when the neighborhood puts so many at risk, it makes it impossible to operate.”

Spruill said the plan is to relocate elsewhere in the District next year.

“We love our patrons and we want to make it clear that this is a brief pause and let everyone know that City Winery will be relocating in DC,” she said.

Staff members said they were blindsided by the decision to close the Ivy City location.

“We started to build a real family here and had no idea,” said Christian Penny, who is a bartender at City Winery.

He does not believe that crime is the real issue for the location closing. Rather, he blames CEO Michael Dorf.

“I feel that was a scapegoat to say the crime and violence is the reason for leaving,” said Penny. “At the end of the day, he didn’t know the culture of my city and the culture of my environment.”

“Restaurants love company, we like vibrancy and more. So yeah, I don’t like the fact they’re leaving,” said Gregory Casten, who owns Ivy City Smokehouse just next door to City Winery.

He says he’s been in Ivy City for the last few decades. Although there have been some car break-ins, he doesn’t believe crime is a major issue in the area.

“We are not experiencing anything that makes us or our customers nervous. We’re just not,” he said.

According to city crime data, violent crime has increased in Ward 5 over the last two years. That’s where Ivy City is located. In September of 2021, a shooting occurred just outside of City Winery. MPD released surveillance footage at the time that showed the shooting.

“I have restaurants in Georgetown and sometimes if you walk down a dark alley in Georgetown and you make a bad choice, you’re in an unsafe place,” explained Casten. “Every neighborhood in DC has those types of those characteristics. You just have to be smart and have your wits about you no matter where you are.”

City Winery will be open through January 1. Tickets purchased for events after that date will be refunded.