Oh, man how we love a resurrection story. After going dark for approximately six months after the previous owner's passing in March, The Orbit Room — that ground-floor Deco-accented bar with Mercator projections and a chandelier that looks like a representation of the Big Bang — is back. Very little has changed: There are still $18 pizzas, and the decor is mostly the same (including the dead zone between the restroom and the rear of the bar). I think a couple of tchotchkes are gone, but at least they take credit cards now.
[jump] Although this comes from anecdotal evidence only, the promised reduction in wait times seems to have happened. (Accepting more than just cash likely helps, in that people can run a tab, but the cocktail list consists of things that can be assembled rapidly as well.) While Inside Scoop reported that Courtney Ross of Bloodhound and Nic DeLillo of Tempest were reviving the bar, there was talk of Meatball Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, and the like, there didn't seem to be anything but pizzas when I was in.
A word on font choice: the menus are pretty cool-looking, with a crisp, almost Macy's-like typeface but with gaps in the letters where they might connect. More to the point, those gapped letters spell out the names and ingredients of drinks, including the Dolores Del Rio (tequila, lime, grapefruit, agave, japaleño tincture), the vanilla-forward Out of Fashion (bourbon, maple syrup, and bitters), the liqueur explosion that is The Final Word (Fernet, Chartreuse, Luxardo, and lime juice).
The building that houses the Orbit Room is a mid-rise apartment house with a giant, can't-believe-it-passed-discretionary-review billboard on the roof that's aimed at the Central Freeway. Everything about it is solidly rooted in the past, like the map on the wall that's slowly falling out of date as the Earth orbits the sun and geopolitical intrigue shifts borders. But this incarnation of the Orbit Room fits right in.
The Orbit Room Cafe, 1900 Market, 415-252-9525.