2959 N. California Ave. (3000N, 2800W)
Chicago, IL 60618-7702
The Kennedy Expressway or I-90, originally named "Northwest Expressway" until JFK's assassination in 1963, was completed in 1960 in the path of one-time Avondale Avenue, and now slices through the old Avondale neighborhood leaving its northeast corner an orphan. Thankfully, the Orbit Room anchors this area, at least for night owls and the heavily-tattooed. Who knew that you'd find the following at this Avondale bar: upscale yet home-cooked pub grub, an enormous beer garden, intriguing selection of cocktails and craft brews, and top-notch service? The husband-and-wife duo that runs the joint originally met at Neo, which explains the tattoos and musical selection, but it can only be their passion for nightlife that results in an experience that can even make deaf patrons audibly sign with delight. While we haven't yet sampled the whole menu, the El Cubano sandwich with homemade chips and the mac & cheese turned out to be excellent choices, as are the burgers and tilapia tacos from what we are told. Throw in a 60s décor that would make Holiday Club jealous with its retro hanging lamps, intriguing metal wall sculpture and back-lit recessed ceiling, and you've got a (lost) Avondale classic.