There are good bars, and then there are great bars. Both Sportsman's Club and Estereo fall squarely into the latter category. Two of the minds behind those lauded watering holes—Jeff Donahue and Wade McElroy—have formed their own hospitality group and taken over the Orbit Room in Avondale. The duo, aptly dubbed Leisure Activities, is using a similar approach here as they did with Sportsman's Club, which is good news all around.
McElroy and Donahue say they're "staying true to the soul of the Avondale neighborhood institution while breathing new life into the bar." The bar staff, name and patio will stay put, but you'll notice some changes to the design and menu. The beverage program is the shining star here, with eight cocktails, seven beers by the bottle and can, seven brews on draft, three wines and the Moon Shot (Hamm's or High Life with a shot of Malört, Fernet or bourbon). The cocktail options are creative and varied, from the Pink Lemonade with rosé, pisco, strawberry, lemon and ginger beer to the Spicy Margarita with tequila, mescal, ancho verde, blueberry and lime.
New bar bites, curated by chef Mark Steuer (Carriage House), include kale salad, butterbean hummus, a Chicago dog, an heirloom tomato sandwich and a fried chicken sandwich. A daily specials section presents heartier dishes like shrimp and grits, tacos al pastor and turkey tetrazzini. Take a look around the new Orbit Room.
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