We’re always on the lookout for great new restaurants to enjoy great food and live music—and we have found just the place with new hotspot, The Optima (1252 North Wells) that recently opened in Chicago’s bustling Old Town neighborhood. This 100+ seat restaurant showcases a modern take on American food and is inspired by “the rebellious spirit of music.” 


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What to Order 

The Optima doesn’t disappoint with their hearty menu featuring high-quality food and drink options. Some of our favorite picks included sharable starters like mussels, hummus, and their must-order Optima V—that featured a chef selection of meats, cheese, and accouterments. Lunch and dinner options also offered soups, salads, sandwiches and for main entrees, we loved their selection of comfort food—from Ma’s Meatloaf to their Taco Trio (our favorite was the beer-battered avocado taco!). Plus, they’ve just launched a hearty brunch service for Saturdays and Sundays. 


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The Drinks

This is hands down the perfect spot in Old Town to grab after work drinks. The stunning bar is the perfect backdrop to try some sure-to-be favorite cocktails. Some that made a lasting impression was Pere La Chaisse (James Oliver rye whiskey, maraschino, absinthe, bitters), Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder (templeton rye whiskey, park cognac vs, routin dry vermouth, benedictine, bitters) and Satan Gave Me a Taco (corazon blanco tequila, passionfruit, lime, hellfire bitters).

The Space

The Optima showcases a true vintage-glam vibe with their 4,000 sq. ft. 2-level space. The first floor is a 100-seat restaurant that features a stunning bar, fireplace, and an outdoor seating space. The Marquee is on the second floor, a coveted space for Chicagoans that feature bottle service, banquet seating, a late night menu and some of city’s hottest DJ’s. 


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Live Music

There’s something so great about listening to live music while enjoying a dining experience and The Optima nails it. The restaurant will have an array of live music every week—everything from a known DJ to a solo acoustic act to a rock-and-roll band, so you should bookmark their website to constantly check their schedule. 

Destination Old Town

Whether you’re visiting Chicago for the first time or if you’re a resident, Old Town is truly one of the city’s coolest neighborhoods. After dinner, we suggest taking a stroll around Wells street and see the many shops. 

For more information or to make a reservation, call 1-312-778-7111 or visit Or you can make reservations via Open Table. 

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Melissa Maynard
Melissa Maynard fell in love with travel as a young girl while taking a road trip adventure to Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, MO, after a tour of a sprawling Gilded-Age mansion. With a lifted taste of all things luxury (and a cabin adventure, here and there), Melissa loves checking out opulent hotels in exotic destinations and far off places. Favorite thing about travel...the wanderlust of it all. She has written for the Chicago Tribune and is the editor-in-chief of Factio Magazine —luxury publishers for, and