Henry’s Swing Club Soft Opens Tomorrow in River North

By Sarah Freeman  |  June 19, 2014
Credit: Lindsey Becker/DMKRestaurants

In 1947 John Lee Hooker sang about a bar in Detroit where music blasted, people danced all night and the vibe was so electric that you couldn’t help but join the fun. It was called Henry’s Swing Club and a reincarnation of that non-stop party opens tomorrow in the former Lao 18 space. DMK restaurant group’s first River North project will be a bar with loud music, strong cocktails, pool tables and a slider-centric bar-food menu created by Michael Kornick. Put on your dancing shoes, because boogieing is not optional.

18 W. Hubbard St.; 312-955-8018

  • Credit: Lindsey Becker/DMKRestaurants

    The Food

    While Henry’s is first and foremost a bar, but no rockin’ party is complete without snacks. The majority of the menu is dedicated to 25 slider options, ranging from the traditional burger with mustard, ketchup and American cheeses to the fried oyster slider with Sriracha pickled ginger. Kornick will also offer additional sandwiches, salads and tacos as well as sharable plates of onion rings and cheese fries. It’s difficult to miss the last item on the menu, located under the “Fuck it – Here’s a Tamale” section is Papa’s chicken tamale, available for $4.

  • Credit: Lindsey Becker/DMKRestaurants

    The Drinks

    Michael Rubel, a big name in the bar scene whose resume includes the opening team of Violet Hour as well as time at Big Star and Billy Sunday, is shaking and swizzling a menu with drinks for every appetite. It will include sections dedicated to carbonated cocktails on draft, a series of swizzles, frozen drink machine blending Mezcal Mules, bubbler dispensing the old-school Mexican cocktail Vampiro and Boilermakers perfectly pairing pints and shots. Like any club worth its salt, Henry’s will have bottle service in the form of individual hand-bottled, force-carbonated cocktails. In addition to cocktail, the bar will feature a collection of whiskeys including house barrels, local beers and classic American cans.

  • Credit: Lindsey Becker/DMKRestaurants

    The Space

    It’s dark, with plenty of corners filled with cushy lounge chairs for doing thing you do after a few too many Mezcal slushies. There are also pool tables, cards, Uno and truth-or-dare dice. The decor is sourced from local vintage shops to play up the colorful urban street art all over the walls. A 40-food bar takes up most of one side of the space while an orange and blue graffiti mural takes up the other. Look closely, and you will see vintage Playboys scattered around the space to solidify the fact that this is a place to let your inhibitions go and just have fun.