After teaming up with Pete Wentz and Co. to open Angels & Kings last year, Howard Natinsky is set to open Branch 27 in January.
Nightlife vet Howard Natinsky, 46, knows a thing or two about the bar biz, but when it comes to staying relevant in a young person's game, he also knows it can't hurt to befriend a few industry It Boys. Last summer he teamed up with Pete Wentz and Co. to open Angels & Kings (710 N. Clark St.), and in January he's set to open Branch 27 (1371 W. Chicago Ave.) with the former Rockit Bar & Grill GM Cary Michael and Jim Dragatsis of Marigold. We got the scoop.
Where did the name come from?
It's the old 27th Ward library branch. I demolished a portion of the two-story building, and we built a glass atrium in the middle, which is part of the dining room.
What's the concept?
We're more of a restaurant than a bar, but we're hoping to be both. It's where people like us [nightlifers] will go to eat.
You've had your hand in a lot of bars. Can you give us the list—and any favorites?
I opened my first bar, The Corner Pocket, in 1989. Then Southport Lanes in '91, Sidelines Grill in '92, the original Lucky Strike on Lincoln Avenue in '95, Hudson Club in '96, Trocadero in '98, and then I got out of the business for seven years because I was burnt out. I got back in because it's in my blood. We opened Five Star in '06, Fat Cat in '07, and I'm part of Empire Liquors  and Angels & Kings . As far as favorites, that's like asking me who my favorite child is.
Photography: Alexandra Compain-Tissier