The Waiting Room is officially open, and it’s likely Atlanta’s grooviest drinking destination oozing sexy 1970s lounge vibes.
Owned by Atlanta restaurateurs Darren Carr and Eric Simpkins, the Waiting Room takes over the former Top Flr space above their restaurant Bon Ton on Myrtle Street in Midtown. Carr describes the new cocktail lair as a “sexy” somewhat “mysterious” bar, sporting banquettes covered in red and pink shag, bucket and panton-style chairs, cozy little nooks, and DayGlo mood lighting. There’s even a piano wrapped like a disco ball gracing a small stage where DJs and live music kick off at 10 p.m.
But the Waiting Room “is not a dance club,” Carr clarifies. It’s “a seated cocktail lounge with bites,” that happens to offer live music. It’s also 21 and up.
Seating around 50 people, reservations are highly encouraged to secure a table or seats at the bar. Before being escorted up to the lounge above Bon Ton, people must first check in at the host stand downstairs.
The tongue-in-cheek vibe of the Waiting Room carries through into the drinks and food. Look for funky riffs on classic cocktails using ingredients like blue curacao, basil-infused eau de vie, and creme de menthe heavily featured on the menu paired with snacks such as boiled peanuts, barbecue adobe cocktail meatballs, and daily oysters on the half shell. Wine, beer, and cleverly concocted non-alcoholic drinks are also available.
Simpkins continues to experiment with large format cocktails offered in decanters holding multiple servings for groups to share, including the Rock and Roll mixed with Japanese whisky, bourbon, and Dos Equis Especial and a martini riff in the Train Round the Bend mixed with gin, manzanilla sherry, and blue curacao.
Carr and Simpkins want the Waiting Room to fill a void for people seeking a place to grab drinks after dinner or later in the evening with live music and DJs running the gamut each night. There might be R&B or Soul playing one evening and someone strumming a harp the next. The beauty, Carr says, is you never know what the music or the scene will be at the Waiting Room.
The Waiting Room is currently open Thursday through Saturday, from 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Hours are expected to expand in the coming months. Live music and DJs begin at 10 p.m. and reservations are highly encouraged, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.
It’s been a busy few months for Carr and Simpkins leading up to the opening of the Waiting Room, which included the closures of two other restaurants in Atlanta. The partners closed Memorial Drive restaurant Wonderkid in November at Atlanta Dairies. Wonderkid opened in December 2019, just three months prior to the start of the pandemic. Then, in January, Carr and Simpkins closed their longtime Midtown restaurant the Lawrence after 11 years on Juniper Street. They plan to replace it with a new restaurant later this year.
Check out the cocktail menu for the Waiting Room:
674 Myrtle Street, Atlanta. justkeepwaitingroom.com. Reservations highly encouraged. 21+.
Currently Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 7 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Live music begins at 10 p.m.