Patio Theatre

6008 West Irving Park Road,
Chicago, IL 60634

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Showing 226 - 250 of 260 comments

heatherbakker on December 21, 2004 at 11:29 pm

Get pictures of the inside of the theatre to the colleges and universities in the area. Maybe try and find a few professors to pitch in a line or two during lecture about The Patio to get more people interested. That’s how I heard about it, but my professor didn’t know it was closed already. He mentioned it in passing. The description of the inside is what made us all want to see it. I would LOVE to see it open again. I’ll help too if you throw a fundraiser.

Broan on November 25, 2004 at 2:03 am

Bryan, i’m not sure if you noticed but the photos on the cinematour site are somewhat newer, it looks like the marquee’s been painted (rather less attractively). It’s a little too… ketchup and mustard for my taste. It looks from your picture that some paint was desperately needed at the time.

Jayne2 on November 24, 2004 at 7:46 pm

My mother used to call it the “Pay-she-oh” too! She still does when she refers to it. I thought she was the only one! She used to go there in her early 20’s, over 40 years ago. I’ve only been there once, and remember the starry sky. I agree with the other posts – this neighborhood is on the verge of being regentrified and the theater would probably do well if it re-opened.

lucyvanpelt on September 20, 2004 at 10:46 am

I would love to see this theater restored and re-opened. My aunt has lived a few blocks from the Patio for over twenty years. My family and I walked there many summer evenings to catch a movie, and I always wanted to make sure I got there early enough to watch the starry sky for awhile before the movie started. If anyone is seriously planning or knows of any type of fundraiser or anything like that please be sure to post, I would like to get involved!

Cwakrs on July 6, 2004 at 12:32 pm

My grandparents lived in this neighborhood for years. I am 50 years old and have grown up coming to this beautiful theater. I live in Schiller Park, a suburb outside Chicago,and I would still contribute money to the opening of this wonderful theater. I agree, someone has to reopen this Landmark theater. Vickie

Xanthus on July 2, 2004 at 7:13 pm

I’ve lived in the neighborhood my whole life. I’m a graduate of St. Pascal and still attend Mass there. I was starting my sophmore year in highschool when the Patio closed. I can remember all the times on a friday night when my friends and I would go to se a two dollar movie either because we really wanted to see it OR because we had nothing better to do than pay two dollars to make fun of a bad movie. It was the place for a kid in the eighth-grade to take a date out cheap, which is always appreciated by a kid with no job or allowance or car. One of the biggest regrets I have of the Patio closing is that I was only able to take a few of my highschool friends there to see its beauty and look in awe at the stary illusions on the ceiling. Some one HAS to re-open this marvelous theatre. The love lives of hundreds of grade-schoolers rely on it.

Trolleyguy on June 17, 2004 at 3:35 pm

Yes, it is a beautiful place and needs to be reopened. Just a minor correction, tho. I also lived in the neighborhood for many years, and attended St. Pascal (no h) church at the corner of Irving Park and Melvina.


bunny on June 15, 2004 at 11:07 pm

I moved into the St.Paschal/Patio neighborhood when I was in 7th grade. I cannot begin to tell you the numerous movies I’ve seen over the years. It is the most beautiful theater imaginable. The twinkling star filled sky just transports you to a far off place.I’ve also been to the organ concerts,which were just beautiful. The organ is fantastic. If there were a way to help to reopen the Patio it would be wonderful.We could do fundraising to help re-open,etc. Also it would bring new life to the neighborhood. It is a beautiful landmark and it is a sin to let it just lie vacant and unused. Besides,our children,friends and others could experience a movie the way it was meant to be seen. Not in a warehouse, where they have multiple screens and herd you in & out like cattle.It could be like the music box and show old movies.As for parking, 2 blocks west is St.Paschals who I’m sure would be accomodating.Even if there were a small surcharge to park, the church and the show could gain. God speed,& heres hoping to seeing the Patio open again! P.S. In my years in the neighborhood everyone always called it the “PATIO”

JimRankin on June 5, 2004 at 6:46 pm

Trolleyguy is right; mea culpa.

Trolleyguy on June 5, 2004 at 6:42 am

Excuse me, Jim, but the i in Spanish is pronounced ee (long e). it is the e in Spanish that has the long a sound.


tntim on June 4, 2004 at 9:47 am

Down here in Knoxville people would call the Riviera Theatre “The ra-VER-a"
I guess that is a southern thing.

JimRankin on June 4, 2004 at 9:20 am

Actually, in literate Spanish it would be pronounced: pah-TAY-oh. Odd pronounciation of theatre names is certainly not unique to Chicago, with perhaps the most famous being the East Coast chain of LOEW’S being pronounced: low-EES, rather than the correct “lows” (the ‘E’ was silent). One theatre in Milwaukee, the UIHLEIN caused so much confusion to out-of-towners not used to such German names, that it was renamed the ALHAMBRA, though it bore no resemblance to that famed Spanish palace! The proper pronunciation of the family name Uihlein is: EEE-line. As regards the venerable PATIO, we must remember that in the 20s, Spanish was little know outside of our southern border areas and California, and patios were a feature of the yet-to-come ranch houses of the 50s..

Trolleyguy on June 3, 2004 at 2:24 pm

My Dad used to call it the Pay-she-oh, (like ratio). Perhaps just a neighborhood affectation. In all my years on the west side, we always called it the PAT-ee-oh, just like the place where you have your barbecue grill and lawn furniture. Of course, the Hispanic customers would call it POT-y-oh (As it is pronounced in Spanish)

scottfavareille on June 3, 2004 at 8:45 am

I didn’t realize that the Mitchell Brothers(who made porn films as well as operating theaters) had owned &/or operated theaters outside of California. Anyplace else that they operated theaters at?

richardg on June 2, 2004 at 6:06 pm

The Patio was part of the Mitchell Bros. chain which owned a minimum of seven or eight theatres in the city of Chicago. Maybe more but I know of only this number. Alex, the current owner, acquired the Patio theatre complex at a tax sale in 1986. He re-opened the theatre in October 1987 and closed it in August 2001. Other than the fact Alex is now 77 and would enjoy some leisure time, there were other reasons why he closed the Patio. I think all of the problems could be overcome. There were no building code violations involved with the theatre’s closure.
I promised Alex I would not list his telephone on Cinema Treasures because he was worried the curious and passionate theatre enthusiasts would be constantly telephoning. So here’s the deal, the interested (not the curious) email me and I’ll forward your number to Alex.
If you have no idea what it would cost to heat and cool a theatre that seats 1500, research this first before you email me. Investigate all the licenses that are required—the latest on the list is the P.P.A. (Place of Public Amusement). This one alone will run you $1500 yearly.
No one more than I would love to see the Patio re-opened so let’s hear from all of you with deep pockets or good credit and excellent motivational skills. The later needed to get support from city politicians, neighborhood residents, and the many vounteers you’ll need to make it viable. My email address is

richardg on May 25, 2004 at 8:10 pm

Yes, the Patio is definitely for lease and I’ll add information within one or two days.

Rhojim on April 5, 2004 at 3:17 pm

I just wanted to add one thing about the neighborhood: it’s changing. Yes, there are a lot of eastern European and Hispanic immigrants – but this neighborhood is in the verge of becoming the next “gentrified” hot spot. The tribune article posted above, which praises the economic housing prices, was from 1996. The house that family purchases for $152,000 then, is closer to 300,000 now and rising (trust me I just moved in).

A little over a year ago a new bar opened a few blocks down. It’s a bit more upscale from what was in there previously – and now it’s difficult to find seat most nights. I think Portage Park is ripe for a neighborhood theatre – second run, art-house, or otherwise.

chgotim on March 25, 2004 at 9:26 am

Just one note regarding the Music Box. I think that the dynamic of the neighborhood itself is completely different as far as it’s makeup, entertainment environment, and acceptance of walkability than is the neighborhood surrounding the Patio as it presently stands and it’s very location compared to where it would likely be seeking to draw patrons from.

Believe me, I would love to see that theater reopened by some creative innovator who could find a way. But if you are going to succeed in meeting the challenges, you have to properly identify those challenges so that they can be responded to well. Ignoring them and trying to just think positively won’t help resolve any problems that could make it a better and more attractive draw.

Trolleyguy on March 25, 2004 at 8:46 am

Let’s see, no parking. How about the Music Box on Southport, an artsy little theater? The Music Box arranges for parking at a local school. Patrons take cabs, hustle for street parking, even ride the bus. Where there’s a will, etc. It’s easy to point out all the disincentives, including the major one of people staying home and watching DVD’s and movies on cable.

You know, as the operator of a tourist attraction, I’m in the entertainment business, so I’m always looking for that hook, that reason to get people to come and have some fun. That’s what we need to do here. I had a guy working for me, that whenever I asked him to do something, he would give me 10 reasons why it couldn’t be done. (we’re too far away, too far from other venues,etc.) I would then ask him to give me one reason why it could be done. He couldn’t, it was more fun being a naysayer, I suppose. Guess what, he doesn’t work here any more.

By doing research marketing and targeted promotion and advertising, and scheduling special events, we have increased our visitor count annually, even in these uncertain economic times.

OK, Tim, this is my final post on this subject. Remember, getting in the last word doesn’t mean you win. Nobody wins a p….ng contest.


chgotim on March 24, 2004 at 3:36 pm

Yes, not everybody has to drive. And there is pretty good bus service there (though most people who come on it may have to transfer from another route and travel a distance due to it’s location. Also, the Austin bus stops running by 10. Irving Pk .only goes up till around maybe 11:30 or so, so you couldn’t necessarily rely upon that for a late showing). But a venue will need a fair amount of parking for those who just won’t come any other way than by car. So without a decent sized available lot in close proximity, any venue will have some real problems drawing a crowd.

Trolleyguy on March 24, 2004 at 3:27 pm

You know, not everyone has to drive. With the price of gas pushing through the roof, public transportation to the door of this wonderful theater is readily available. Yes, there are restaurants and bars nearby, actually a very vibrant neighborhood. Secondary screening rooms could be established in the upstairs apartments/business spaces which flank the theater.

All you need is a vision. (And money)

chgotim on March 24, 2004 at 12:53 pm

One major problem which the Patio has is a lack of readily available parking in the area. I am also not sure if there is very much in the way of complimentary entertainment possibilities (restaurants/bars and such) close by. Consider, too, that there is ony the one auditorium (no secondary screening rooms to help boost income). It’s a beautiful house that had some sort of regulatory problem with the city, I believe, that they couldn’t afford to fix or whatever (asbestos?). I hope it doesn’t just sit there forever and rot away but can be reopened one day and enhanced.

scottfavareille on March 18, 2004 at 1:38 pm

Gary’s last post was excellent. I would like to elaborate more with the Hong Kong film situation. I was planning to open (with a business partner) a theater dedicated to showing Hong Kong films several years ago in the San Jose, CA area. The biggest problem I found out was the very short window between theatrical and video in Hong Kong. Many Hong Kong films wind up (legally) on video within about a month of their theatrical opening. This does not allow a theater owner to make much of a profit, since a theater makes more profit on longer runs of films versus showing a film for 1-2 weeks. And once a film hits video, it kills any theatrical business that that film might bring your theater. I feel that this has hurt the Four Star(which currently is the only San Francisco area theater that does show Hong Kong films—At one point the Towne in San Jose showed Hong Kong films on Monday and Tuesday nights and the UC Theater in Berkeley showed Hong Kong films on Thursdays. By the time the would play the Towne or UC, they were out on video and that killed their HK nights.)

GaryMeyer on March 18, 2004 at 8:57 am

You are right…I shouldn’t maker knee-jerk responses. But, as a founder of Landmark Theatre back in 1975 (I left left a few years ago to do other things), we learned a lot about audiences and locations for foreign and independent films. People “tell” you one thing but their actions are what keep theaters alive.

The Gateway/Copernicus is a special situation. Being a Polish Cultural Center it is supported by a wide range of community related events including films. Some outside groups also rent it for programs like the Silent Film Festival which are destination events.
Being a beautiful palace helps in the appeal.

But obtaining the rights to show foreign films that don;t have US distribution isn’t easy. Copernicus hooks up with other Polish cultural groups and they share the costs of bringing the prints in. They have a minimal cost way of letting the core audience know what is showing. They may also be screening films on video/DVD below the radar of the actual rights owners. This happens a lot but a more public facility can’t do it.

But even ethnic communities can be hard to bring out. I operate a 1926 neighborhood theater in San Francisco, the Balboa. We are in the heart of the Russian and Chinese communities. Attempts to show films to these audiences, with help from within the community, have been mixed at best. We have been trying to arrange something with Russian contacts to show Soviet films but they can;t get a committment from the suppliers to give them a steady flow of product. Another neighborhood theater, the 4 Star, is owned by a Chinese American whose family has been showing Chinese and Hong Kong films for decades. But the theater now survives by playing a mix of first run commercial movies and second runs with some Asian special series and fests. There aren’t enough films to fill it year around and the audiences will appear for the high profile titles and highly publicized festivals but not as a steady diet.

The Balboa wins “Best of” awards and people are talking about how we have turned it around in the past 3 years but people constantly tell me, “I love what you are doing but I just don;t want to drive the 20 minutes to get there.” Those megaplexes are closer and usually have parking, a tight commodity in neighborhoods.
Meanwhile San Francisco is losing some of its oldest theaters as Regal sells them off. The Alexandria just closed and the Coronet goes next. Both the Voge and Metro are for sale and the asking prices can’t be justified for running them as theaters. More housing and retail to come, leaving neighborhoods with fewer (if any. Our Neighborhood Theatre Foundation keeps close tabs and we try to figure out ways to save or reuse old theaters. I have done several feasibility studies on creative reuse not unlike the Gateway.

Now I hope I am proved wrong. I haven’t paid close attention to the Chicago art market in years. I know Landmark and Century have built new art complexes and the heroic Music Box and Facets do their things. Someone closer to the marketplace knows better than me. Contact the Music Box team.

Trolleyguy on March 18, 2004 at 7:05 am

I find your comment to be rather snobbish. If you would notice in my posting that there are foreign-born people living in the neighborhood, so perhaps they might like to see foreign language films. At one time, the Patio showed East Indian and Polish films, or maybe you would prefer French and Italian.

Also, people have cars and can drive to the theater or take public transportation right to the door. Perhaps you would like to check out the former Gateway Theater (now Copernicus Center), just 20 minutes from the Patio. Literally every weekend there are foreign language films, classics, etc., being shown there to a packed house. And the parking lot is filled. Mostly with the cars of middle and working class folks.

Remember what happens when you make assumptions.