Oak Theatre

2000 N. Western Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60647

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Showing 26 - 37 of 37 comments

GFeret on September 30, 2008 at 11:06 am

No, not a bank (at the former OAK Theatre site),

but a DRIVE-THRU (for a bank)!

Talk about your ignoble afterlife.

DavidZornig on August 19, 2008 at 8:30 pm

I was only at The Oak Theatre once in my life. July 28th, 1993. A rare Chicago performance of ELO Part II.
A line up of some former Electric Light Orchestra members, without their former leader/founder Jeff Lynne.

I was amazed at the obvious transformation of what we had driven by hundreds of times as a porno theatre, into a classy, small concert venue.
You could tell by some of the interior workmanship, that some thought & money had been spent on the renovation.

The interior walls had been sand blasted & tuckpointed. Not much appeared original to the building except the exterior. And an inner set of door frames that separated the lobby from the auditorium. Great sound system, and alcohol sales to boot.

I really thought the place had huge potential, as like the next Park West. I think Johnny Cash was even advertised as being one of the upcoming artists to soon play there. So it definately could have positioned itself as a premiere, smaller venue for established acts that would sell out regularly.

I was absolutely stunned as to how quickly it closed and was torn down, in such a seemingly short amount of time. And to put up a bank!? What happened?
The ever growing, recently gentrified neighborhood, surely could have supported a venue of it’s size. It even had a parking lot behind it. And a bonus White Castle behind that.(Now gone too. In place of yet another Walgreens, 2 blocks from a yet another CVS.)

A truly sad, quick end to what could have been.

thekid1 on November 28, 2007 at 12:53 am

Ah, yes. The Oak was at its finest in the late 70s and early 80s. I knew the owner and as a young lad I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of the entertainers. Needless to say I had a smile on my face after each visit. They would get some pretty famous starlets at the time. One of them actually provided me with a first time experience. I’ll never forget her. : )
The Kid

Dallas on September 15, 2007 at 3:28 pm

I worked there several times, I think it was sometime during 1977 to 1979. Beautiful Theater. I enjoyed working there as the Headliner.
Dallas Electra

mjthom on September 7, 2007 at 5:21 pm

So is that entire block gone now? Back in the early 90s, I used to work in that area and shopped at a small mom & pop Ace Hardware store that occupied one of the storefront shops beside the theater. The shops all shared the theater’s terra cotta exterior. At the time the theater was being used for Latin music concerts, I think. They let me poke my head in one day when a band was setting up. Despite the fact that it looked so immense from the outside, it actually seemed quite intimate on the inside – and still in pretty good shape. What a shame that it was demolished. That area had really hit the skids by the time I was working there, so I’m sure it would have been difficult to find any use for it.

HDTVdesignteam on March 30, 2007 at 4:43 pm

I don’t remember Rosa, but, during a Cheri shoot I ended up in a number of the published “spread” photos. My girl friend was up the street at Augastana I believe.

GFeret on February 21, 2007 at 8:13 am

‘House Photographer’ for the OAK Theatre in the ‘70s?!! Did you manage to get “SPERMATOZOA ROSA’ in action?

(More) seriously…how many out there remember the OAK’s illuminated dial-face clock, up above the (emergency) exit just right of the screen? I saw too many movies at that place to enumerate. Took guitar lessons @Melody Music School right next door, too (owner: Joe Guido).

HDTVdesignteam on July 12, 2006 at 1:27 pm

Believe it or not, I was the ‘House photographer’ during the 70’s when it had stage shows…. Just a college kid having fun. The manager had me take some of the acts out to dinner to keep them sober until showtime. Ah, yes.

Broan on June 19, 2006 at 4:44 pm

Here is a profile from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s HAARGIS system. It includes a small picture.

markymark on July 8, 2004 at 7:35 am

I used to walk past this theater all the time in the mid-late ‘70s when they showed pornos and always made comments to my buddy about the poster for the current adult film playing there. I finally got in during the time it was a concert venue in the early '90s and saw Weird Al Yankovic,also got a couple of cool cardbaord posters for the show which state the performance is at “The Oak” with its address! During this time,Margie’s Candies was featured on the WTTW show “Wild Chicago” and this inspired my wife and myself to finally go to Margie’s for some home-made ice cream and candies. We not only met the legendary Margie but also sat in the very booth The Beatles sat in when they visited in 1962 or 63 for their Comisky Park concert.

KenC on May 20, 2004 at 10:09 pm

Was in the Oak theatre a few times as a kid. Like many neighborhood theatres, would show double or triple features; second or third run. My one rather vivid memory of the Oak: late 50’s, Saturday afternoon, watching “TERROR FROM THE YEAR 5000” plus “THE SCREAMING SKULL”.The main floor was wide but not very deep; every seat seemed close to the screen. Seemed like there were many more seats in the balcony. As I recall, the lobby was quite small. Yes, Richard, Margie’s Candies is still on the southwest corner of Western and Armitage: has been for decades. A great place for shakes and all sorts of candy.

richardg on April 22, 2004 at 6:39 pm

I tried to see the inside of the Oak during a visit to Chicago during the early 1980’s. Unfortunately, the ticket person wouldn’t let me inside without purchasing a ticket even though I assured him I’d be only five minutes and was only interested in seeing the theatre. I then asked if I could just see the foyer area. This request was also met with a “No tickie, no lookie.” I finally asked if I bought a ticket would I be able to see any of the theatre’s architecture while the movie was showing. He informed me it was very dark and that I probably wouldn’t see anything. I gave up and never did get to see the inside of the Oak before its demolition.
I remember there was a great old fashioned ice cream parlour less than a block away. Anyone know if it’s still there?