River North needs more laid-back bars in a sea of clubstaurants, said Adolfo Garcia, the restaurateur behind Broken English Taco Pub. That’s why Garcia has taken over the former Mercer 113 space, partnering with the building’s owners Roman and Sammy Sanchez. He plans on opening a bar with about 12 dart boards, food, and a cocktail program featuring gin. Point & Feather should debut the third week of October at 113 W. Hubbard St.
While Hubbard Street is full of cover charges, loud music, and bro havens, Garcia feels the neighborhood needs diversity and something interactive beyond a video game arcade. The dartboards at Point & Feather will be digital and use rubber tips, not sharp metal ones: “I don’t want to go to jail,” Garcia joked. He’s not looking to draw pro dart players — it’s just a friendly activity for customers as they down a few pints and grab a bite. There’s no bottle service here.
“I love cocktail-ing and lounging; I think drinking shouldn’t be uncomfortable where you have to always stand up,” Garcia said. “I believe in comfortable drinking and I want to implement that.”
It’s with mixed feelings that Garcia talked about his opening. He’s a Mexico City native and images from the earthquake that struck Tuesday are fresh in his head. Garcia already has a grand opening fundraiser benefitting the Red Cross planned for Oct. 25. The Sanchez brothers are Mexican-American, and they gave Garcia is first job after immigrating to America. He worked at the now-shuttered John Barleycorn’s in Lincoln Park. Garcia sees the brothers as role models, and is excited to partner with them: “I call them bar-activists,” Garcia said.
Garcia is hands-on when it comes to design. Mercer took up 6,000 square feet. Garcia has reduced that footprint by about 30 percent. He’s going for a rustic, Bohemian look. The space is divided with four libraries — there’s two dartboards in each one. They’re made of maple, and they’ve painted over them with green stain. The floors are covered with Persian rugs, and the counters are made from red Brazilian cherry. Woodworker Alex Morales of Smartmouth Designs (he’s done work at Sunda in River North and Fulton Market Kitchen) has had a heavy hand in the bar’s look. Garcia didn’t want the space look like a typical dart bar. The space also features murals from Jenny Vyas, a local artist that Garcia said uses plenty of feminist imagery in her work.
Morales built the three bars inside, and the cocktail menu will feature gin in the three styles — British, Spanish, and modern cocktails (they’ll have a frozen gin and tonic on the menu). Garcia wants Americans to enjoy infused gins the way they do in Europe and Mexico. Broken English bar manager Emily deKanter is creating the drinks. They’ll also put in a new draft system for craft beer and offer a robust wine list, Garcia said. They’re not ready to divulge on the food menu. Garcia has a chef in mind, but they’re waiting to release a name. The menu will have dinner entrees and bar snacks.
The team behind AceBounce has talked about opening a dart-focused bar. Garcia wants to be clear that he isn’t competing with them, that darts are more a diversionary element to the project.
Will Point & Feather fly in River North? Find out next month.