When a big name attaches himself to revamping a beloved dive bar, patrons have every reason to be worried. But luckily for fans of the California Clipper (1002 N. California Ave., Humboldt Park), not much changed in prolific restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff’s reboot of the spot.
Other than a few new bookshelves for displaying artfully arranged knickknacks, things look roughly the same inside, with lights kept red and dim enough for a long night of drinking. The jukebox is heavy on Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, and the walls are covered with paintings of mountains. And the craft cocktails share menu space with cheap beer in bottles and cans. (Note that the whole bar is cash only.)
Here’s what we saw when we stopped in Saturday night.