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A New River North Bar Lets Customers Name the Space After Themselves

Blank’s Bar replaces La Bodega, while DineAmic Catering takes over Zhou B Center

A glimpse inside the new Blank’s Bar.
DineAmic Hospitality/Rebecca Peplinski

The owners of Bar Siena and Bandit are rebranding one of their River North restaurants to focus on personalized private events. La Bodega, the small space that used to sell churros and coffee (neighboring Barrio at Clark and Kinzie), is now Blank’s Bar, a rentable lounge for parties. Available for birthdays, anniversaries, or bachelor parties, DineAmic Group will customize the space by changing the bar’s name right on the sign, trying to make guests of honor feel like they own the place.

La Bodega closed in December at 355 N. Clark Street. The Bodega lounge remains open. While the latest incarnation focuses on private parties, owners will throw an occasional pop-up that will be open to the public; DineAmic plans to do that for St. Patrick’s Day, for example.

Blank’s Bar wants to make sure everyone knows your name.
DineAmic Hospitality/Rebecca Peplinski

Over in River North, Blank’s Bar will have space for up to 30 guests. DineAmic aims to really transform the space for each event with neon signs outside revealing the customizable name. If a customer ever wanted a bar named after themselves, this is their chance without committing to actually owning a bar.

“We started thinking — what if we made a venue that was completely customizable,” DineAmic co-founder Lucas Stoioff said. “Essentially, you own the bar for the night.”

Bartenders creating custom drinks for parties isn’t novel, and Blank’s Bar will offer that, but ownership described the concept as going beyond that. They’ll serve the guest of honor’s favorite foods, and play their favorite tunes. The bar can also offer programming like bartending classes or a guided mezcal tasting. A basic package would cost around $50 per person. Reservations are accepted a minimum of 72 hours in advance of an event.

Last year, DineAmic launched a catering company as it expanded its private event arm. In related news, the company also announced it’s now the exclusive caterer for one of the most popular private events spaces in the city, the Zhou B Art Center (1029 W. 35th Street in Bridgeport). DineAmic will kick off its new relationship with Zhou B for the NBA All-Star Game, which takes place on February 16 at the United Center. Chicago hasn’t hosted the basketball game since 1988 at Chicago Stadium when Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan starred and won the Slam Dunk Contest. This year’s game will feature tributes to Los Angeles Lakers Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant. Bryant died last month in a helicopter crash.

While neither of DineAmic founders Stoioff and David Rekhson would talk about the star-studded guest list, they did confirm they’re handling the NBA All Star Gala at Zhou B.

“I love big names,” teased Rekhson.

DineAmic’s restaurants include Prime & Provisions in the Loop and BomboBar in West Loop and Old Town.

Blank’s Bar, 355 N. Clark Street, now accepting reservations.

Barrio

65 West Kinzie Street, , IL 60654 (312) 940-9900 Visit Website

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