Now open: Jackhammer creates a new space that honors the past

Thu. February 2, 2023 8:26 AM by Ross Forman

jackhammer preserves the leather/fetish culture

photo credit // anthony meade

'We want to create a leather and fetish space for the future, that adapts as our community grows and changes, but still remembers our past.'

Jackhammer continues to preserve and celebrate the culture of leather, fetish, BDSM and kink – and the cold beer is pouring once again.

The popular north side bar, at 6406 N. Clark Street, reopened on Thursday, Jan. 26, after being closed for almost three years.

Jackhammer co-owners Mike Sullivan and Mark Robertson are thrilled, Sullivan said.

“It’s been a labor of love and the road was certainly a bumpy one,” Sullivan said. “Opening weekend (at the end of January) was amazing and we are so grateful for everyone who so warmly and excitingly welcomed Jackhammer back.”

Jackhammer was closed from March 16, 2020, to this past Thursday. “At the time (of the closing), we were told the shutdown would be for two weeks. That did not age well,” Sullivan said.

During the stretch closed, the owners renovated, driven by the goal to create a space that honors the past while also creating a Jackhammer for the future, one that welcomes the entire LGBTQIA+ community to explore their kinky selves, Sullivan said.

Jackhammer certainly looks different than it did on March 15, 2020.

“When we bought the bar and the building in 2018, after a foreclosure sale, we knew that there had been years of deferred maintenance and repairs that needed to be addressed,” Sullivan said. “So, customers will see updated bathrooms and bars throughout the space, and new furniture and video screens, including a 60-square foot video wall with 120 individual panels, plus a new, much higher capacity HVAC system, in a space with a modern, industrial vibe. We’ve also installed new state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems throughout the bar, and rebuilt the patio, with garage doors off the back of the rec room, the area (formerly) known as the sports bar.”

And, Sullivan added, “Throughout the bar we’ve installed art that showcases our leather and fetish history, including a large collection of posters from many of the International Mr. Leather contests over the past four decades. Our downstairs features a mural from Wil Velez, who did the mural in The Sofo Tap, the painted stairs at Meeting House Tavern, and much of the artwork that hangs in 2Bears Tavern Uptown.”

The Hole is still open. “The Hole is built to be a space for people to explore their leather, fetish, BDSM, and kink sides in a safe, no attitude setting, a place for people to come and be their true selves,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said “a very substantial” financial investment was made for Jackhammer’s new look. “We invested for the future, so Jackhammer does not become another leather and fetish space lost,” he said.

Jackhammer is part of 2Bears Tavern Group, along with The SoFo Tap, Meeting House Tavern and 2Bears Tavern Uptown. The 2Bears Tavern Group works at all locations, so customers will see familiar faces from those other local hangouts. Opening Jackhammer increased their staffing needs by almost 40 percent, Sullivan said.

“Folks should come out and experience Jackhammer for themselves … there’s so much new to see, he said. “We want to create a leather and fetish space for the future, that adapts as our community grows and changes, but still remembers our past.”

Sullivan confirmed that, in the coming months, Jackhammer will be rolling out a number of recurring events, including rotating tea dances, cigar and whiskey socials, a DILF after-party, and more.

Photos: Jackhammer re-opening night