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Tour Old Town’s New Palace of Rock and Pop Music on Wells Street

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Read Optima’s menu

The Optima opens in Old Town.
Barry Brecheisen

The management behind Optima doesn’t think customers need a dance floor. Guests can dance anywhere they please as they’ll have DJs and fun playlists pumping tunes inside the new Old Town restaurant and bar. It’s a bar inspired by concert venues in what started out as a tribute to rock music expanded to include hip hop, and other genres. It’s from the Arizona company that opened the Rabbit Hole down the street at 1252 N. Wells Street.

Nostalgia fueled the venue, said Anthony Georgoulis, the company’s director of operations. They handled the design in house with old concert fliers, cassette tapes, and rock posters. They’ve wiped out all traces of Salpicon, the Mexican restaurant that it replaces after a 22-year run. Down the line, they hope to host some live music. Think scaled-down outfits with a singer or keyboardist with an upright bass.

They’re serving upscale bar food with crafty cocktails. Georgoulis said they didn’t want to be a lemming — plenty of bars are featuring “classic drinks with a modern twist.” Instead they want to serve something different and fresh. There’s 12 boozy cocktails and four sprit-free drinks.

Georgoulis explained the concept as a bunch of chefs who dropped out of culinary school and went rogue. There’s 92 seats on the first floor and they’ll have a 24-seat patio. The second floor has room for 125 seats. It’s more of a wide-open layout.

Check out the menu and take a tour of the space below.

Optima, 1252 N. Clark Street, (312) 778-7111, hours not posted yet.

Optima replaces Salpicon.
The bar takes inspiration from concert venues.
The first floor has been gutted.
Feel like a VIP without forking over the huge ticket prices.
The design was handled in house.
The first floor bar.
The bar’s motto.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago
There are fireplace on the first and second floors.
A house of hi-fi speakers.
Act like an “old” and explain what audio cassettes are to a youngster.
Elevator going up.
The second-floor bar.
A fireplace and lounge upstairs.

Pastrami on marbled rye.
Mac & cheese with black truffle oil
Satan Gave Me a Taco
And The Law Won
Out of Port Arthur


1252 North Wells Street, , IL 60610 (312) 778-7111 Visit Website

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