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Best Old-School Bar Clientele 

Esther's Orbit Room

Little remains of the days when 7th Street in West Oakland marked the center of a bustling metropolis: blues clubs, speakeasies, and restaurants where you could order anything that could be cooked in a fryer. Esther's Orbit Room might be the last vestige of that era. Characterized by its iconic space ship logo and faded purple sign, the Orbit Room is one of those places where everybody knows everybody's name. The drinks are cheap, the kitchen serves soul food from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (including fish heads, cobber, black eyed peas, and greens), and on a Friday night you might hear Rick James and B.B. King playing on the jukebox. But the best entertainment is the clientele: Regulars at Esther's have been known to sing impromptu torch songs or R&B ballads, and many of them are quite talented.

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