Though it took its current Park West name in 1977, the theater's 1920s flare still sticks. Low black leather booth seating, candle-lit tables and a Studio 54-style disco ball merge with the sophisticated symmetry and glamorous details of the theater's original era.
With bars lining the back walls of the semi-circle room, the two levels and widespread distribution of seating and large stage make for great views from any spot. Servers make the rounds offering cocktails, so there's no need to interrupt your music trance with a trip to the bar.
If you've never seen a show at the Park West (think rock bands, solo singer-songwriters, DJs, benefits and fashion), its location may not quite register on your radar. Situated between the Lincoln Park Zoo and Stanley's Kitchen and Tap, it's somewhat inconspicuous from the outside. Most noticeably, you'll see the Park West sign written in 70s "Tab" soda font. Once you're through the doors, though, you will see why it's a much-loved venue for the audience as well as performers (or so I've heard).
With incredible sound quality, an intimate setting (meaning you can see the performers' faces) and seating options that don't make you feel like you're lined up in movie theater rows, this place will have you checking upcoming listings simply because you like the space so much. Even better, those listings are varied and impressive: I've seen Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, Jim O'Rourke and Arto Lindsay, Thievery Corporation and Tori Amos with her piano (and a band) back in 1998, all some of my favorite live music moments.
Centerstage Reviewer: Heather Blaha