We’ve been featured in…

Time Out logoEater Chicago logoChicago logoTripadvisor logoThrillist logoConde Nast TravelerReader logo
best of chicago logo

Recent Press

A hand places garnishes on four cocktails at a bar

The 54 absolute best bars in Chicago

Raise your shot glass of Malört to the best damn watering holes in Chicago

Author: Morgan Olsen

Bartenders wearing masks pour drinks behind a bar lit with red lights.

The California Clipper, Humboldt Park's Treasured Tavern, Puts on the Red Lights

The historic bar reopened Thursday under new ownership after nearly two years in stasis

Author: Naomi Waxman

The California Clipper interior

The California Clipper

This historic bar started out as a speakeasy in the 1930s, but has evolved into a busy Humboldt Park bar with live music, DJ sets, and dancing. It's gone through a few changes in ownership over the years, but this dark bar has maintained its old-timey atmosphere—complete with its signature red light that makes you feel like you're hanging out in a darkroom. The California Clipper has a short but great cocktail menu with drinks like a refreshing highball with coconut and Pimm's Cup, as well as some non-alcoholic options like Lyre's gin and tonic.

Author: John Ringor

California Clipper - exterior

California Clipper

The California Clipper is a landmark cocktail bar and intimate live music venue with an atmosphere that echoes another era. Dating back to the 1930s, the Clipper ranks as one of Chicago's most historic and beloved bars.

Author: Tripadvisor

The California Clipper exterior

California Clipper is reopening with a new lounge for dancing

The beloved bar returns on February 24, accompanied by a new lounge (the former home of C.C. Ferns) that hosts DJs.

Author: Zach Long

The California Clipper - exterior

California Clipper

Following a pandemic-era closure, the glowing red lights at beloved Humboldt Park haunt California Clipper flickered back to life earlier this year thanks to an acquisition by the hospitality company Orbit Group (Good Measure, Segnatore)—and we're pleased to report that things are mostly back to usual at the bar, from weekly live music to the same red leather booths flanking the walls. If you’re craving a change of pace, venture to the Clipper’s new back room (which previously housed coffee shop C.C. Ferns) for DJ sets and late-night dancing meant to channel the spirit of Danny's, the iconic Bucktown spot that shuttered in 2020.

Author: Zach Long

Servered cocktails on the pult

The Best Bars in Chicago Right Now

These are the dives, cocktail emporiums, distilleries, and wine bars serving the best drinks in Chicago.

Author: Jay Gentile

The California Clipper exterior

The California Clipper

The Amaro Shaved Ice is the most refreshing drink—the shaved ice allows the amaro to mellow enough to really taste the different nuances. The Clipper is an old bar from the '30s that has lots of red leather and wood. It has an old-school jukebox which allows me to control the music. I like to go late on Thursdays, and stay until they kick me out.

Author: Doug Psaltis

A bar with red lights illuminating the space

At the California Clipper, everyone is welcome

The newly relaunched Humboldt Park lounge champions community, inclusivity, and fair labor practices

Author: California Clipper