Esther's was one of the West Coast equivalents to New York's Lenox Lounge (see Ken Mac's post). However, Esther's story has a sadder ending. The Orbit Room was part of a thriving West Oakland 7th St. music scene in the 50s and 60s. Like the Lenox, Esther's hosted big blues and R and B acts including Aretha, BB King, and Etta James. But the forces of urban renewal had a huge negative impact on Esther's business. The building of the vast complex of the Post Office distribution center across the street and then the West Oakland BART station made the noise level too high for performers to compete with. The 18-wheelers and BART trains literally shook the building. The Orbit Room stayed open for years as a local bar and restaurant with a great jukebox selection, but finally closed its doors last fall after 51 years. The Oakland live blues scene has pretty much evaporated except for some acts at Yoshi's jazz club.