Esquire Theatre

58 E. Oak Street,
Chicago, IL 60611

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Showing 26 - 50 of 181 comments

JudithK on May 19, 2010 at 5:04 pm

I saw “Star Trek: the Motion Picture” at the Esquire. The theatre was better than the movie (I prefer “Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan” myself).

CSWalczak on May 7, 2010 at 3:22 pm

In reply to your query, in the 70s, that area was still a rather bustling area at night, with many restaurants, music and jazz clubs, singles bars, even a gay bar or two; many were quite famous in their time, although even then, it was little less than it once was a decade or so earlier. Now it’s becoming more of a “boutique” shopping area, much less a nighttime destination.

CSWalczak on May 7, 2010 at 2:22 pm

Most likely, if not certainly, she was coming out the Carnegie Theatre which which was in the next block west, facing Rush St. The Carnegie was at 1026 N. Rush; Faces at 940 N. Rush.

kg20 on May 7, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Dear Gentlemen (looks as if I’m the only woman on this board – ha):

In the movie, “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” Diane Keaton is shown coming out of a theater in Chicago. You can clearly see Faces nightclub in the background, so it appears that she is looking South on Rush from Oak, but I’m not sure. Is she coming out of The Esquire and they’ve just edited the film, or was there another theater in the area during the mid-to-late 70’s? Also, if anyone would like to tell me more about this area in the 70’s, I would really appreciate it! Let’s just say that I’ve become obsessed.

Any information is appreciated!


DavidZornig on April 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Apparently Marilyn Miglin closed her Oak St. retail store for good, some time back. So any say she had in what went on with the Esquire is now possibly gone too. (See BWChicago’s 9/29/08 post) Unless she owns her building and is still an active Oak Street Council member.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on April 12, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Trust me, J.W.; they’ll never come to town. I wish they would gut the inside and restore it to it’s original theatre self. Of course, they would have to do live performances there; it could never be a full-time movie house again. Can you imagine going to a concert near the lakefront? Now that would be awesome.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on April 12, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Tim, I have heard that Willis Johnson has vowed NEVER to operate a theatre in the city of Chicago, mainly because of tax issues.

Broan on April 12, 2010 at 2:40 pm

I don’t think Classic wants to deal with the hassles of Chicago government.

telliott on April 12, 2010 at 2:38 pm

What about Classic Cinemas?

CSWalczak on April 10, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Perhaps Landmark might have considered taking over the Esquire in years past, but I do not think there’s any chance of that happening now; they seem content with the multiplex they built in the shell of the old Century Theater up north and their other operation further north in Chicagoland. Also the company seems to be in a state of contraction – it pulled out of the New Orleans and Columbus, OH markets during the past year and will leave Austin, TX in the fall.

telliott on April 10, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Looking at that lovely photo, it really is a shame that the Esquire has been just sitting there all these years. It really does fit in to the neighbourhood so well doesn’t it. It should be a Landmark or Angelika or something.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 8, 2010 at 9:38 am

It seems like a lot of high end retail has been closing in Chicago recently. I see more and more expensive store fronts around town for rent. My guess is that nothing will be happening here for a while.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on March 8, 2010 at 9:31 am

I liked it better when it was known as A Walter Reade Theatre.

TLSLOEWS on February 11, 2010 at 5:36 pm


DavidZornig on November 10, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Yes maybe. But the ability to maximize the space in a completely new structure, built from the ground up has to be more doable than renovating an existing space.
Even if they were to keep the mutiple floors currently at the Esquire, how big could each shoebox be to be viable? Versus new shoeboxes that can be built to spec in an open floor plan of their own design?

I would think they’d need many mores screens with potentially different pictures playing on each to make it work.

I remember how big the auditorium was at the Esquire back when it was a one screen. I still don’t envision it as workable as a multi story building they can build from scratch.

Broan on November 10, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Well, in fairness, the Block 37 theatres would have been shoebox-size, no bigger than the Esquire’s if not smaller.

DavidZornig on November 10, 2009 at 8:56 pm

As truly great as that scenario would be, I think the Muvico folks would probably consider the Esquire space too restrictive for what they’d want out of a new venture.
In comparison to the space downtown that they passed on. Which is considered by the city the “theater district”.
The Muvico out in the suburbs looks like a palace. Even with multiple screens inside of even a reconfigured Esquire, it likely wouldn’t be enough space to satisfy them, and without parking.

I’d think size wise McClurg Court would be more doable if they were even to entertain the idea of renovating an existing space, versus building a new facility to their own specs.
The Esquire probably seems like an arthouse in size to them.

The demographic on paper for movie goers around Oak St. probably wouldn’t be enough for them even if it included everyone on CT. Because sadly there are no other theaters left in the Rush St. area with/from which to even properly gauge theater foot traffic.
Plus I think they’d probably require massive parking access wherever they choose to go.
If Muvico did magically want the space, I’d fear they rip it down and build their own structure anyway.

I’m for saving the Esquire structure & facade no matter what ends up going in there.

Mikeoaklandpark on November 9, 2009 at 10:59 am

Since the Muvico project fell through, why don’t they just purchase this theatre and reopen it.

vicboda on October 2, 2009 at 12:09 pm

This was one of the most beautiful theaters I ever went to both inside and out. The art deco blue interior was such a pleasure.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 26, 2009 at 12:00 pm

No surprise on the foreclosure.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 26, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Pretty sure this has not been posted. No offense if it has:

View link

In either case it is a cool image.