UPDATE (9/12/13): THE CONGRESS THEATER IS NOW CLOSED
The Congress Theater was built in 1926 and stands as one of the oldest theaters in Chicago. It is a beautiful venue from the outside and in, featuring a large balcony and a huge ballroom style dance floor; The Congress has a 4,000-person capacity. Unfortunately that is about the extent of positive things to say about this venue. Upon entry into the venue you will be thoroughly searched and most likely violated both verbally and physically; they will ruthlessly confiscate anything and everything from lighters to crystal wrap necklaces to glowsticks. The staff’s level of authority is completely relevant to the artist that is performing that particular night (i.e. EDM/DJ shows are highly patrolled whereas live bands are generally more laid back). Once inside security is unorganized and reckless, as they patrol the scene similar to how a lion hunts its prey in the wild. They are not afraid to mob directly into the crowd of a clearly oversold event and violently kick out as many people as humanly possible. The place is always trashed and the bathrooms are consistently disgusting on both floors. Do not check your coat unless you are ok with waiting an hour while being corralled like cattle to get it back after the show. The sound is sub par, speakers blowing out are not at all unusual, and live bands can never seem to get a good mix. Beer is $5 & $6 and mix drinks generally range between $6-$10, sometimes they do a six-drink special. The Congress Theater is a shame to the music scene and an embarrassment for Chicago.
The Congress Theater 2135 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago IL 60647 – (773) 276-1235 – http://venue.congresschicago.com/