Formerly used as both a theater and office space, The Waiting Room is an all-ages club that mainly books punk, ska and hardcore shows—and a small one at that. As few as 60 people will make it look like a packed house.
The oldest people here will usually be onstage, and the high school and college-aged audience is relaxed enough to dance, cheer and look like they're enjoying themselves (as opposed to the crossed arms and nods you'll see at shows in Wicker Park). Everyone seems to know each other, but plenty of conversations are started between strangers bumming smokes.
It's standing room only, so comfortable shoes are a must, but the space is so small that anywhere you do end up standing gives you a good sightline. People who come to this one-room, black-box performance space are here for the music, so don't expect to see much on the walls outside of an old show flyer.
If you're 21+ know that no drinks are served. A hand-written sign advertises bottles of water on sale for a dollar "when we have it." Another sign hangs near the back, indicating the bathroom hidden behind the stage. Cover charges usually range from $5-$7.
Centerstage Reviewer: Scott Smith