Esquire Theatre

58 E. Oak Street,
Chicago, IL 60611

Unfavorite 26 people favorited this theater

Showing 176 - 181 of 181 comments

mwak on March 4, 2004 at 7:44 am

The theater renovation in 1989 entirely gutted the interior of the building (including the steel structure) and a completely new structure (cast in place concrete) was built inside the shell. The Intent of the renovation appeared to be the desire to add additional screens and additional retail space in an expanded lobby. The city would not allow the transformation of the exterior to allow the retail, but did allow the additional screens. Therefore, the additional screens are in place but the lobby, although also completely new, resembles more closely the original lobby of the art-deco building. The only redeeming value of the building today is its scalloped brick facade and large marquee.

RobertR on February 17, 2004 at 1:57 pm

Wow thats a shame, many times at least the main auditourium is preserverd.

JohnSanchez on February 17, 2004 at 12:55 pm

Robert the main auditorium was probably gutted. There are elevators on the first floor but I don’t even see where the entrance to the main auditorium used to be. My guess is it is probably used for storage of candy and popcorn buckets and drink cups and such. Or perhaps it is for janitorial supplies. Your guess is as good as mine.

RobertR on February 17, 2004 at 12:50 pm

I am confused, if all six theatres are on an upper floors what is where the auditorium once was?

JohnSanchez on January 28, 2004 at 10:55 am

The Esquire was once the poshest theater in the city. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that they began to sell popcorn. Some classic films had their US premiere at the Esquire including “The Haunting” “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Dr Strangelove”. In the 70’s the Esquire continued showing exclusive first run classics such as “Blazing Saddles”, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “All the President’s Men”. Sadly the theater was closed and converted into a 6 screen with all six theaters on upper floors. The lobby and staircase still have signs of the great palace it once was but the auditoriums themselves are shoebox sized and not well maintained. My last two visits to the Esquire have been terrible. The first time the movie was 40 minutes late getting on screen. An usher was nowhere to be found for some time. I also had ordered a popcorn and was told by the counter girl that the size bag I wanted was being brought up and they would bring it to me. 20 minutes later I went back out and the concession girl was reading a book and said she forgot. The last time I was there I tried to use the bathroom and both men’s rooms were out of order. I had to leave the building and go to a neighboring business. I wrote to Loews and complained on their website and never got a response. Too bad they could care less about their theaters. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see the Esquire closed someday soon. Here’s hoping another company will take over and care about the theater and fix it up to the way it belongs.

William on December 16, 2003 at 5:32 pm

The architect of the Esquire Theatre was W.L. Pereira.