Renovated Mr. Henry’s (Upstairs) reopens to the public Fridays and Mondays

601 Pennsylvania Ave, SE

From an email:

“Henry’s Upstairs, the very same space where Roberta Flack got her start many moons ago, will be open to the public Mondays and Fridays at 5:00pm starting Friday 11/7/14.

Henry’s Upstairs will offer a distinctly different menu featuring New American Creations and light fare on Friday nights, while our famous 1/2 priced burgers will continue to be offered on Monday nights along with the regular menu. A late night happy hour will be added in the near future and we hope to round out the rest of the week as needs dictate. Live entertainment will return to the space on a nightly basis and it will also be available for private functions.”


13 Comment

  • As a longtime Henry’s regular, I was initially excited about the prospect of a renovation that would bring live entertainment back to the Hill. Unfortunately that renovation comes with the loss of Kid’s Night—a Tuesday night staple among Hill parents. New management took over in August. Regulars were told the restaurant was “staying in the family,” but between layoffs of longtime employees, the pricier menu, and the changes in atmosphere, it’s hard not to draw parallels between the “new and improved” Henry’s and the “new and improved” (and now bankrupt) Hawk ‘n’ Dove. Word is, the new Henry’s managers are accustomed to working in upscale eateries that cater to the foodie set. Rather than adapt their cuisine and management style to complement the existing restaurant, they seem determined to make Henry’s conform to their discerning tastes and standards. As a result, regulars feel like we’re saying “goodbye” to what made Henry’s great in the first place: Its laid back atmosphere, warm (and entertaining!) staff, and strong drinks. The upstairs looks great, I just can’t help but wonder who these changes are intended to please: the longtime regulars or, more likely, a hipper (snobbier?) clientele.

    • + 1 million – Went for my usual birthday dinner not knowing there had been a management change and was shocked when I saw the menu. I haven’t been back since – you could tell the vibe had changed. Really disappointed because this used to be a Hill-homey spot.

    • Guess we’ll need to find a new place where we can take our kids and get strong drinks!

    • jim_ed

      This is really disappointing to hear. When we lived on the hill Mr. Henry’s was our go-to Saturday lunch spot to have a good sandwich and a beer.

    • The crazy thing is, there is now a dearth of inexpensive, neighborhood haunts, and they are missing out on the opportunity to fill this niche. Instead of trying to compete with Hawk and Dove, Barrel, and the like, they could build on their existing customer base and attract all the people that have been pushed out of the other places that have shut down or “modernized.”

  • Couldn’t be said better. In my 14 years on the hill it has now become increasingly a neighborhood of seemingly unfriendly, aggressive pusher strollers. It is tangible how many newcomers on my block seem to adamantly not return a hello greeting, or project an air of entitlement. Thing is, I know most will high-tail it out of there once little “Braxton” or “Daphne” hits middle school.

    • I’ve been here for 7 years and have always been taken aback by how surprisingly unfriendly the Hill is, especially since it looks like such a cute, family-oriented neighborhood. From my perspective as a single twenty-something, it seemed like people were friendly to those they already knew but not really to outsiders/newcomers. I’m often greeted with a diverted glance or confused glare when I say hello or smile at a passerby. Obviously, there are exceptions, but this happens more often than not.

      • I’ve only been here 3 1/2 years but my experience has been the opposite– people here seem especially kind and welcoming to me. However I do think the climate changes on the weekends, when most of the people you see in the neighborhood are tourists who just want to Instagram photos of produce and brunch with their friends and not interact with anyone else.
        But it could be that my perspective is just different. Previously I’ve lived in Arlington, Alexandria, Annandale, SW, and Columbia Heights. With the exception of SW they were all places with unfriendly neighbors who didn’t even say hi to other people on their block.

        • I’m sure it doesn’t help that I live pretty close in, so we do get a lot of tourist traffic. It might be better further north or east. And isn’t SW surprisingly friendly? I have a cousin who lives there, and we actually had strangers stop us on the street to chat while I was walking with the family.

    • I realize that Capitol Hill has long thought of itself as special, but this is hardly unique to your neighborhood these days. All of DC is just like this now.

  • I was initially pleased with the changes, and would meet friends there at least once a week. I could even deal with the menu changes and price increases. But once our favorite waiters were “disappeared,” the neighborhood atmosphere went with it. Very sad. Needless to say we are looking for a new Wednesday dinner spot.

  • Agreed. The whole vibe has changed along with the menu. This was our go-to spot for years and now, well, not so much. There are dozens of places for trendy food, but Henry’s is (was?) unique for its down to earth atmosphere, good bar food and a constantly colorful and fabulous staff.

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