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The California Clipper is back…again

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


The California Clipper is reopening today under a new owner — two years after the beloved Humboldt Park bar closed due to some, uh, legal trouble. 

Don’t recall the deets? It’s been a long pandemic, here’s a refresher. 

Previous owner Brendan Sodikoff said the pandemic inhibited him from being able to pay rent for the Clipper and the adjacent C.C. Ferns coffee shop. He shut it down in spring 2020, according to Block Club Chicago

A legal battle between landlord Gino Battaglia and Sodikoff, who also owns Au Cheval and Green Street Smoked Meats, took off. Battaglia said the big-time restaurateur just wanted out of the lease. 

The two reached a settlement last year, and new owners at the Orbit Group have been renovating since. 

So what can patrons expect? A little bit of old and new. 

The iconic red lights and signature cozy booths have been kept intact. Live music and burlesque shows will return. But there will be a better sound system in place and drag king shows added to the calendar. 

Customers also have a variety of drinks to sip on from classic cocktails like the Matador to Puerto Rican beer Medalla Light to a Polish Handshake. 

The Orbit Group’s takeover of the Clipper is the bar’s latest iteration. From being a movie theater during World War I to a speakeasy during Prohibition, the Clipper has been a beloved bar on and off with a few different owners since, according to Eater Chicago.

👉 Check out the new Clipper!

Trivia Question: What year did the Clipper open as a bar? Email with the correct answer, and we’ll send you swag!


Since 2017, a developer has been pushing to turn a 100-year-old vacant building at 1710 W. Lunt Ave. into a modern 20-unit housing complex — including four affordable housing units. 

Neighbors have voiced concerns about the preservation of the building and decreased parking, but the loudest opponents are right next door: the members of the Hare Krishna temple.

Block Club Chicago’s Joe Ward and temple director Subal Dasa tell us about how the development could impact religious freedoms and practices. 


▪️ A $1.67 million police misconduct settlement involving a woman being dragged out of her car at Brickyard Mall and Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s gang forfeiture ordinance were delayed at a packed City Council meeting. [WBEZ]

▪️ Illinois added 72% more jobs in the cannabis industry in 2021 — even with continued delays issuing dispensary licenses. [Crain’s Chicago]

▪️ The James Beard semifinalists are in, and 15 Chicago chefs made the cut! Shoutout to Maya-Camille Broussard of Justice of the Pies, who is also a star of Netflix’s “Bake Squad” 🥳 [Eater Chicago]

▪️ Starting today, immerse yourself in Frida Kahlo’s art in Old Town!


Ever go to a coffee shop and see posters for fests and shows? Tear-off flyers for tutors and dog walkers? I love a community board — so much so that I’m creating a digital one.

+ Check out Chicago native Mabel Frank’s Instagram where she posts the extra food she’s hoping to give away — for free. 

+ Know a West Side group intervening in the West Garfield Park food desert? A Humboldt Park Reddit user asked after listening to City Cast.

Email to let us know what’s up around town! 


Musicians perform on a dark stage.
Bill Nace, Haley Fohr, Lia Kohl, and Macie Stewart. (Images by Caroline Patton)

If you’re into contemporary or experimental music, you’ll be happy to know that the Frequency Festival is back at Constellation in Roscoe Village through Sunday. 

Caroline Patton, City Cast’s growth marketing manager, saw experimental rock musicians Bill Nace and Haley Fohr as well as Chicago-based duo and instrumentalists Lia Kohl and Macie Stewart Tuesday. 

Be like Caroline, and get a ticket

Pssst, does Caroline’s name look familiar to you? Just a couple months ago, she was a reader suggesting we all check out Shit Fountain in Ukrainian Village, and now she works at City Cast! 

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