Patio Theatre

6008 West Irving Park Road,
Chicago, IL 60634

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Showing 101 - 125 of 281 comments

Patiomike on March 4, 2010 at 1:58 am

The organ currently in use at the Portage was built in 1927 and was previously installed at the Copernicus Center (Gateway). I think it began life in yet another theater. It was moved to the Portage and installed in December of 2008. Previous to that, a digital theater organ sat in the orchestra pit. It was installed in time for the reopening in 2006. I recall being told the Portage never had an organ although there is ample room for pipes and related equipment. Jay Warren, the savior of the Portage and one of the nicest people I know, would be happy to relate the story in accurate detail. Check as there are lots of interesting events coming up.

gmcalpin on March 4, 2010 at 1:38 am

Patiomike: Doesn’t the Portage Park Theater have its original organ? Although I don’t believe it’s operational, if you meant that, as well.

Patiomike on March 4, 2010 at 1:14 am

I don’t know that the place was ever in perfect condition. Before its opening in 1987, mountains of litter were removed from the auditorium and other areas. Carpets were replaced, seats fixed, new paint applied, light bulbs changed, projectors serviced and a then state-of-the-art Dolby stereo sound system was installed. He even bought a new popcorn popper. Further repairs were made after opening including extensive work on the heating plant. One of the last jobs done before the 2001 closing was the removal a 10HP motor from the ventilation system, sending it out for rewiring, and reinstalling it. After 20+ years, the place could use some freshening up. The projectors need to be gently coaxed back to operation. New carpeting, paint, etc…. just like fixing up grandma’s place – if it sat 1,500.

jwballer on March 1, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Isn’t this place in like perfect condition?

jwballer on March 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Ok. Thats good news:)

Patiomike on March 1, 2010 at 12:29 pm

The organ, a Barton, is still in place in the theater. has further details. I believe the Patio is now the only theater in Chicago that still has its original organ and not a transplant. As part of this long hoped for reopening, the owner is looking to get the instrument back to working order. It was well maintained in the 80s-90s but has not been touched since the theater’s closing.

jwballer on March 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm

Does the patio still have it’s organ?

gompka on February 4, 2010 at 12:03 am

Would love to see a movie at the Patio again, or even take a walk through it to bring back some memories. I’m trying to remember where the a/c was, was it in the sub basement that you entered from behind the stage area, to the left of the stage if you were coming down the side aisle? I remember seeing a device with a large wheel and a drive belt. Seems that something as old as wwII a/c should be fixable unless a major part went out and is not possible to replace. If Alex gives you a call again Mike tell him that Anna, Bogdan, David and Adam say hello, and if he is wondering we still have the same phone number as always.

Patiomike on February 3, 2010 at 11:32 pm

That report is six years old. Alex has no intention of selling the building or converting the theater to a store or some other reuse. Many offers have been made over the years by developers who wanted to clear that corner. A recording studio once occupied a second floor office so anything’s possible regarding expansion. He’s set a realistic limit on what he intends to spend to get the main room open and is open to non-traditional events. The Copernicus Center caters largely to a Polish-speaking audience. He doesn’t want to “out Portage the Portage” either. Leaving the theater dark does not help the other tenants, the building or the neighborhood as a whole. “I want to contribute to the community” were his words. How many developers even know what that means? At his age, he could easily do nothing. I applaud his willingness to take some risks.

Trolleyguy on February 3, 2010 at 7:59 pm

On the Chicagoland Watch List.

Along with the Uptown, New Regal, Gateway, and Central Park.

Trolleyguy on February 2, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Even a multi-use format will be up against serious competition for venues. The Copernicus Center/Gateway is just a short distance away and has a large stage and auditorium and off-street parking next door. The Portage is also in the local area, and has more off-street parking in the neighborhood compared to the Patio. Maybe a multi-screen setup would be helpful, utilizing space in adjacent buildings to create additional auditoriums, such as was done at the Pickwick in Park Ridge and the Lake in Oak Park. This way, the main auditorium with its beautiful ceiling and details could be spared.

Sure you be nice to see the Patio reopened, in any incarnation.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on February 2, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Agree with Tim Oneill. I think the market has only gotten more competitive since the Patio closed. The next chapter would have to have a multi-use format. That is, unless Alex is planning to run it at a loss against rental revenue from the rest of the building just for fun. If he can afford it given his entire portfolio of real estate more power to him.

jwballer on February 2, 2010 at 4:20 pm

This is one of the sole survivors of the 1920’s and the beginning of the multiplex theatres. It would be GREAT if the Patio Re-Opens.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on February 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Well, I hope that Alex has been taking care of the theatre since it closed almost 9 years ago. I think that he should re-open it as a multi-purpose venue, like the Portage. It’ll never make it as a first run theatre. Some of these film companies want you to play a film for up to 4 weeks. That’s fine if you have a megaplex with various seat counts in each auditorium; but a single screen theatre? Forget about it.

Patiomike on February 2, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I just had a nice long chat with the theater’s owner – he called me right out of the blue. He’s thinking seriously of reopening. He’s discussing the repair or possible replacement of the A/C with local technicians. He’s also looking into making repairs to the bathrooms, a fresh paint job, and refurbishment of the marquee. With the Brickyard theaters closed, there’s a better chance of opening as a first run theater. He is regularly stopped on the street and asked “when will you reopen?” He reads these posts regularly so now’s your chance to let him know you support the effort.

P.S. DaveK is correct about the balcony seat dilemma. Removal of the seats would have made the room too reverberant making dialog hard to hear.

gompka on January 4, 2010 at 1:24 am

Jwballer, its been the same owner since the early 80’s. The economy had nothing to do with the closure its the city charging unreasonably high fees for the public place of amusement license. The balcony is never used in the theatre, yet the PPA license charges per seat, the city never used to charge him for the balcony seats, but at one point they told him that to avoid an increase in the fee all the balcony seats would have to be removed.

jwballer on January 3, 2010 at 6:23 pm

I wonder if the current owners will open the theatre once the economy gets fixed.
They wouldn’t have to do much, it in perfect condition.

Bing00 on December 30, 2009 at 2:44 pm

There is a new facebook page “Fans of Chicago’s Historic Patio Theatre”. Join it.

Trolleyguy on December 4, 2009 at 7:22 pm

No, it doesn’t have a balcony. Instead, it has several rows of seats that are arranged at the back of the auditorium in rising tiers, stadium-style.

These seats were roped-off for years and unavailable to patrons.

jwballer on December 4, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Just one more question. Does this place have a balcony.

gmcalpin on December 4, 2009 at 5:12 pm

The Patio is most certainly not open; that web page is just 8 years old. It closed in 2001, when The Mummy Returns was new to theaters.

jwballer on December 4, 2009 at 5:06 pm

I think the theatre may be open according to this site

gmcalpin on November 19, 2009 at 9:54 am

The Patio Theatre made an appearance (in vector form) in my comic strip Multiplex today:

(The two characters in the strip are making a habit of visiting classic theaters in the Chicago area; one is a photography buff, the other a budding classic movie theater buff. Chicago’s Calo Theatre has previously appeared, and they will be visiting more in the future, as well.)

Photography purists will be more interested in this recent gallery (from July, 2009) of Patio Theatre pics at my Flickr account, however: View link