A new cocktail bar offering live music is headed to Midtown at the end of December when the Waiting Room opens on Myrtle Street.
Owned by Darren Carr and Eric Simpkins, the Waiting Room takes over the former Top Flr space above the duo’s restaurant Bon Ton. The opening of the Waiting Room comes on the heels of the closing of Wonderkid, the diner-style restaurant Carr and Simpkins opened at the Atlanta Dairies complex just three months prior to the start of the pandemic.
Carr, who also co-owns the Lawrence with Simpkins, describes the design for the Waiting Room as a “sexy, cozy” somewhat “mysterious” space oozing 1970s throwback vibes, complete with red shag carpet, bucket and panton-style chairs, funky little nooks, and DayGlo lighting.
“We’ve expanded the Top Flr space, almost more than doubled the size of it,” Carr tells Eater. “It was just sitting dormant and we began thinking about this missing piece in Atlanta, the place you go after dinner for drinks and maybe live music and a snack — that after-dinner hangout spot.”
For Carr and Simpkins, they hope the Waiting Room fills a void for people seeking a place to grab drinks without the need to order food after dinner. Look for live music to run the gamut at the bar, from R&B or Soul one night to someone playing the harp the next night. The beauty, Carr says, is you never know what you’re going to get each night in terms of music or the scene at the Waiting Room.
The cocktail menu is still in development, but Carr and Simpkins are currently experimenting with large format drinks served in decanters that hold multiple cocktails for groups to share. With the departure of longtime beverage director Taylor Blackgrave, Simpkins plans to oversee the bar and cocktails at the Waiting Room until that position is filled.
Food here will lean “grandiose and maybe ridiculous”, fitting the tongue-in-cheek vibe of the bar, a theme likely to carry over into some of the drinks on the menu.
“You think about what’s going on over on Ponce, with the destruction of nightlife. There’s got to be a new section or new things popping up to help fill that need,” says Carr. “We are never going to be MJQ, nor is that our intention, but the Waiting Room and what we’re trying to achieve reminds me of places I used to go to growing up in London. You’d show up, see what music was playing, and either have a drink and leave or hang out all night.”
During its first few weeks, the Waiting Room will open Thursday through Saturday, from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Hours should expand in the coming months.
674 Myrtle Street, Atlanta. justkeepwaitingroom.com.