Henry’s is a gastropub in Berkeley, attached to the Hotel Durant a block north of Telegraph on Durant. It consists of a sports bar attached to a dining room. The interior is dark woods and crisp lines – a modern take on a traditional bar. I’ve been there for a number of games of this season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, in which my Sharks made it to the conference finals before being run over by the Chicago Blackhawks (sigh…). They have a good number of flat screen TVs, typically tuned to the games of the local sports teams. There are some Sharks fans on the staff, which ensures that those games will be on.
Wikipedia says that the gastropub label means that it’s a pub focused on good food and in that respect, I’d have to say that Henry’s succeeds. I haven’t been disappointed with any of my meals there so far. The menu is pretty solid, consisting of mostly New American with some international touches and emphasis on pub foods like burgers, sandwiches, wings, and shepherd’s pie. Standouts include their pork chop, which is perfectly cooked – tender and juicy – and served with a very nice mustard sauce and whipped potatoes. Also of note are the Antilled-spiced wings. Unlike most wings served at bars, these aren’t fried. In addition, they’re marinated with a spice rub that reminds me of satay. Very tender and very tasty.
The only caveats are that the menu is a bit pricey and that the quality of the food slips a bit when they’re really busy. One time I was there and it was the conjunction of Cal graduation week, a Sharks playoff game, a Celtics playoff game, a Giants game, and an A’s game. The kitchen was a bit off their game that day. Not terrible, but not up to their typical standards. Back to the first point – $11 for an order of wings is a little steep. On the upside, the relatively high prices ensure that the local student population doesn’t really frequent the place, leaving the more die-hard sports fans. Also, they have daily specials which are somewhat more reasonably priced.
All in all, a great place for a nice, yet still casual meal, within easy walking distance of the UC Berkeley campus and a great place to watch the Sharks in Berkeley if you don’t have cable/satellite.