Best Live-Music Venue to Close in the Past Year

The Ready Room

Staff Pick

The design of the Ready Room was basically a couple of rectangles with a bar in the smaller of the two. It felt like you could have just as easily run a scrap metal business out there, and not because someone had tried to costume it in some kind of industrial chic (this is not a subtweet!) aesthetic. No, it was simply functional: Here is a big room that can hold a band and about 800 people. Enjoy. And people did enjoy. It debuted in 2014 with Of Montreal and, over the years, drew in national acts, such as Ghostface Killah and Raekwon, the Psychedelic Furs, Built to Spill and Run the Jewels. There were no seats, so people just sort of flowed in and around the room, bumping into friends along the way. The Ready Room closed in March 2020 in what was billed as a temporary concession to the pandemic, but it became clear after a couple of months (the real estate listing that May was a pretty good clue) that it wasn’t coming back, at least not there. The space was eventually claimed by former Alderman Antonio French, who owns Taha’a Twisted Tiki next door, and he reopened it as Hot Java Bar with plans to expand beyond concerts to a wider variety of events. There are some interesting plans for the future, but we can’t help being a little sad about the past. —Doyle Murphy
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