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Brendan Sodikoff Wants To Put A Cinema In The California Clipper

By Lisa White in Food on Apr 24, 2014 8:30PM

(California Clipper Sign/California Clipper's Facebook)

A post on Eater Chicago today sparked our interest and has us ready to send a heartfelt plea of “please don’t do that” to Brendan Sodikoff. Eater reports the lesser known fact that Sodikoff is the current owner of longtime Humboldt Park staple The California Clipper, which he apparently is planning on revamping this year. Eater points out that it’s unclear when he added the Clipper to his ever growing restaurant empire, but we were able to find one very brief mention of it in a Tribune profile done on him in late January of this year. Which makes sense since we’re not sure on the exact date, but we did notice last year that suddenly the Clipper became cash only and their website changed, now missing most information including the cool history lesson on the bar and the story of the supposed ghost that haunts it.

According to Eater, his plans for the Clipper includes remaking the back room into a 40-seat cinema, since the Clipper was originally a movie theater in the early 1900s. To that piece of information we beg Sodikoff to rethink this idea. The back room of the Clipper is perfect for larger parties (a few staff members at Chicagoist have celebrated a long birthday night there) and larger parties tend to stay and drink longer. It's one of the few bars with solid drinks where a large group won't be crammed in together. If anyone wants a decent brew and to catch a movie, the Logan Theatre isn’t far away at all.

While we appreciate wanting to visit the bar’s roots, some things aren’t broke and do not need fixing. Like adding a cinema. Thankfully he’s promised to keep the decor and live music the same (sigh of relief) since we can’t imagine the Clipper not looking like a scene from a David Lynch movie. Of course Eater reports that he’ll update the throwback cocktail program. Which has us fearing that those solid classic cheap gimlets are going to suddenly double in price. And if he takes the California Egg Cream off the menu, there will be hell to pay.

Sometimes you just want a simple classic Brandy Alexander with your honky tonk and the reassurance that Tamale Man will show up later. There is a charm in certain places which needs no revamping. We’re happy with so much of what he has created with his restaurant empire (we love you, Doughnut Vault) but we hope this time around instead of a concept or revamp, maybe Sodikoff will just play landlord and let a good thing last.