Along the Fox River in West Dundee, the Clearwater Theater evolved the downtown district's entertainment into the 21st century. The vintage theater was once a movie and vaudeville house back as early as 1911 and then closed, as the Dundee Main Street Theater, in 1999. Then in late 2002, Clearwater productions acquired it and reopened as the Clearwater Theater, the "venue" segment of Clearwater Productions, a company offering booking, production and entertainment in one convenient package.
In place of vintage theater floor-level seating is an open area below the raised stage, with a few tables flanked by a bar. A main level offers a smaller bar, a few tables and additional SRO space. And depending on the age requirement of the show, either area can be roped off, allowing the show to mixes ages. The third balcony level is utilized for "intimate private listening parties."
Its marquee has flashed acts from blues Legend Johnny Winter to local alt-punk rockers Smoking Popes and Local H. Clearwater is also home to a strong following of underground suburban-based metal, punk and ska bands ($5-$10 cover) that can pack the place during all-ages weeknight and weekend shows. It also aims to satisfy most musical tastes with a rotating schedule of jazz, bluegrass, R&B; featuring local, regional and national acts (advance tickets between $15-$30).
Texas hold 'em, karaoke, DJ and reggae nights are sprinkled throughout the monthly calendar and the venue's vintage theater atmosphere can become the setting for rented private parties.
The Clearwater certainly has begun to carve out its own niche in suburban nightlife. City-dwelling clubbers take note: The burbs have a good reason (and place) to rock, too.
Centerstage Reviewer: Chris Catania