Patio Theatre

6008 West Irving Park Road,
Chicago, IL 60634

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Showing 201 - 225 of 260 comments

mp775 on August 29, 2006 at 6:11 am

Not only could the Patio and Portage (don’t forget the LaSalle Bank Cinema, too!) coexist, they could bookend a new arts and entertainment corridor along Irving Park, similar to the way the renovation of the theaters in the Loop created the theater district on Randolph. Imagine a crop of storefront performance spaces, “brew & view”-type pubs, production facilities, and these two grand spaces to showcase major classic and independent film events and live performances. The programming would be varied enough that they would complement each other rather than compete.

CathyC on August 23, 2006 at 9:40 pm

If anyone is truly interested in knowing more about the history and workings of the beautiful Patio Theater, you should try to locate Louis Antonelli, a local Chicago filmmaker and long-time projectionist for the Patio. I too used to live in the Portage Park area. I knew Lou in the early 90’s. He had a great love and passion for the Patio. I was fortunate enough to view movies from the projection room and watch as he changed the reels. I remember Alex, the owner, as a nice man, but crabby and cheap. (I know, not very nice to say, but true.) Someone from New York just told me about this site today and I decided to look up some favorite, old theaters, the Patio being at the top of my list. What a surprise to me that I would be contributing to the site. Lou should be easy to locate. He is a well-known Chicago filmmaker as well as a true and loyal Chicagoan. If you do have trouble locating him, you may want to try calling the Chicago Film Office. I hope the Patio can be restored and reopened. It would be a shame to lose another beautiful piece of Chicago’s history.

Broan on August 14, 2006 at 6:41 am

Do you think the Patio and Portage could coexist, though? They are far apart, but far enough?

ChuckS on August 6, 2006 at 2:30 pm

My wife and I are in the process of selling our current business and would certainly be interested in owning a theater like this. We currently enjoy watching movies and community performances at the Pickwick Theater and appreciate the impact that a stately theater can have on its community. We believe that the Portage Park community can embrace what this stately theater is capable of offering.

Can anyone answer the following preliminary questions:

Is the Patio for sale?
Does the Patio still have its Barton organ?
Does the organ still work?
Are there any schools or churches located nearby to negotiate parking (similar to the Music Box Theater)?
If the Patio is not for sale, is it up for lease?
Most importantly, does anyone know who to contact if the Patio is for sale/lease?

Like many who have posted here, we have been disheartened to see so many of these great theaters being razed in favor of condos (like my childhood theater the Adelphi). If possible, we would like to investigate the feasibility of operating the Patio to save this wonderful treasure for our children and grandchildren. Once these tresures are torn down they can never come back.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on July 22, 2006 at 2:00 pm

From what I gather the owner really likes his theatre. So I imagine he keeps the roof in good repair and heats it enough to keep the interior from declining.

Senorsock on July 21, 2006 at 9:58 pm

Just biked by the Patio today and peered through the window. It looks to be in pretty good shape. It would be a shame if this great theater doesn’t reopen.

LouB on July 21, 2006 at 6:36 pm

There was a theater in Niagara Falls,NY which was originally known as the Falls and later became the State Theater. It looked amazingly like the Patio. Unfortunately the State was torn down. Before it was torn down they found some signs advertising talking movies. I hope someone can save the Patio.

richardg on June 30, 2006 at 1:03 pm

I know from hearing only one side of the story (the owners) that there’s some hostility between the city and Alex. Alex maintains that the theatre never made money under his ownership but the whole complex of theatre, stores, apartments and offices makes the building profitable. The city insisted that the P.P.A. tax be paid on all 1500+ seats even though the balcony (rear elevated portion) is roped off. Alex felt this was unjustfied but the city insisted that the only way he could avoid paying the tax on all the seats was to rip out the unused balconey seats. Alex wouldn’t bend and closed the theatre. That’s the owner’s version of why the Patio closed.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 29, 2006 at 4:39 pm

I talked to a friend of mine who lives in Portage Park the other day. He related a story to me. As he heard it, the owner of the Patio really pissed off the city. So they closed him down. The story goes that the city will not allow the theatre to reopen as long as this gentleman owns it.

Of course this is all word of mouth. Impossible to verify. But if it is true, it is certainly a shame that a power struggle is keeping one of Chicago’s restored movie palaces shuttered.

bleedingchicago on March 16, 2006 at 5:26 am

Hey everybody

I am a Michael LeVan. I have lived in the city of Chicago my entire life. I am a filmmaker and a attendee of Columbia College, heading into my final year. I love all the old movie palaces of Chicago. It has been my intent for sometime to Make a documentary on the history, and the ongoings of these historic theaters in the present. The means to make this documentary are finally in my grasp. I planned on featuring 3 theaters, the Copernicus Center(formally The Gateway), The Patio(Formally The Avalon), and The Uptown. While the Documentary will focus on the entire history, These are the three that will be visual examples, and the ones i would like to film in. I have spoken with the People at The Gateway Theater, and they are estatic that i am doing this. The only problem now is The Uptown and the The Patio. These two theaters seem to have ghosts of owners , or even managers. If somebody could help me in finding someone to talk too, i would be very appriciative. Also, this documentary will require interviews, and finding old information as well. If anybody would be kind enough to do either that would be fantastic. My somewhat set date to start filming is June 10 ,2006. My goal with the entire project is to help and benifit these theaters. Help alot more people to gain interest, and all the profit that i attain, if any, will be donated to help with these theaters. I am going to submit it to Wttw(Pbs Chicago) , and also the History Channel. So if anyone would like to help in anyway, they can contact me at my email.

or by phone (773)-656-5821

Well i appriciate if you read that entire thing, and hopefully i will be hearing from you

Michael Levan of Bleeding Chicago Productions

barryr on February 8, 2006 at 4:41 pm

We lived in the Portage Park area very near the Patio. I think we saw “The Sound of Music” there when it first came out. Resurrecting a subject from a few posters up (and many months back!), my aunt was visiting us with her family from Germany in the 60’s, and said they’d spent the afternoon at the “Payshow.” I thought that was an odd way to refer to a movie theater, but I figured she was roughly translating the word from German. Then I realized she meant she’d been to the Patio! I now live in the western ‘burbs, but I work on the north side in the Roscoe Village area. I’ve driven past the Patio on several occasions and am always happy to see the marquee. Hope this is one cinema treasure that survives.

dteilers on January 29, 2006 at 1:55 pm

The last film I saw at the Patio was The Poseidon Adventure. I took the bus from Lake Street on Austin Blvd.

andy574 on January 1, 2006 at 4:22 pm

If I remember correctly the Simms family owned the Patio at some point. I knew one of the kids, Chris Simms though not real well. They also owned a disco night club on the corner of Addison and long. I lived on Waveland and Long and the Simms family lived on Patterson and Lockwood. They were (are) nice people, a nice Greek family. I too have many great memories of going to the Patio as a kid (38 now) I remember see “JAWS” there when I was about 11 and my Ma putting her had over my face when the shark was getting ready to attack! and I also remember seeing the “Apple Dumpling Gang” there too with my Dad. Those were the good old days, I didn’t really realise it then, but I sure do now. It is a shame that other families aren’t making them kind of memories that last a life time like I did at the Patio. The Patio is a icon of the NW side of Chicago and it is a shame to hear that it is not still open.
Just a little food for thought to who it may concern or not….
The governor Rod bagoinavich (sp) grew up some were in that neighborhood I think anyway, and I know for a fact that he went to Saint Pats high school. I am sure he must have gone to the Patio too… anyone see were I am going here? bottom line is the Patio is a historic treasure!!!
Andy Farrington

Broan on November 28, 2005 at 9:36 am

A May 30, 1926 Rendering and Caption in the Chicago Tribune identifies R.G. Wolff as the Architect for the yet-unnamed Patio.

robabank1 on September 14, 2005 at 7:29 am

I remember seeing my wife’s Luther High School North yearbook, which had a picture of the Patio right on the hardbound cover! I’m not sure if they altered the image on the marquee to say something about that years class, or if they actually held their graduation there.
I’ll have to search around for the year book but I think it was from 1975, ‘76 or '77.

TRAINPHOTOS on June 19, 2005 at 1:37 pm

This would be a good cinema for a small chain like Village, or (even better) Classic Cinemas to take over.

kinoeye on March 8, 2005 at 12:53 pm

If anyone has any information on contacting the owner of the Patio. I would be very interested in getting things in motion for the Patio.

fab4fan on February 9, 2005 at 9:48 pm

In the mid 90s I used to go to the Patio with my friends to see movies all the time. I saw “Much Ado about Nothing” there and I remember the wonderful twinkling ceiling above us as we watched the film. It’s really sad that this theater has been closed for so long.

nicoleboylan on February 6, 2005 at 6:32 pm

Thanks Richard but can I just say, Eek! :) May I also say, if the Patio were ever turned into a Walgreens or Osco, it would be a very big old depressing loss to the neighborhood. Not only would I be sad to see it go, because of it’s history, it would just be another big box store ruining local businesses and family memories. Has anyone seen the commercial from a historic society that starts with black and white images from a long time ago of a wedding, only they are standing in a gas station? Then a voice over that says, “How would you like to have to tell your children you were married in that parking lot?” I’m sure no one was ever married at the Patio, I’m sure there are similar stories that would like to be remembered and passed down to other generations. It would be a very sad moment if it were ever turned into something other than a theater.

Thanks again Richard G.

richardg on February 4, 2005 at 4:35 pm

Hi Nicole,

If funds are limited the Patio is not for you— although I’d still be happy to have the owner contact you. Although the theatre did not make money, the property as a whole has a positive cash flow. There are several store fronts as well as offices which generate income. To a Walgreens or Osco the property would be very valuable and although I’ve never discussed a sale price with the owner I’d think land value alone would be over $1,000,000.00.

nicoleboylan on February 3, 2005 at 10:06 pm


So I’ve been searching for months for a theater for my theater company. I grew up near this theater and also the Logan, which is very similar. I noticed about halfway through, a discussion on how to contact the owner. Did we ever decide how to to do that?

Also, I’ve never bought a theater before, let alone anything else. Well, except for happy meals and new shoes. My funds are extremely limited in terms of buying a theater. Would I be getting in over my head?

Thanks for your opinion. I need them, I’m clueless.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 25, 2005 at 12:26 pm

I suppose it is an obvious statement…and, I am with you on the issue of realism. I wish I had the time to organize, plan & motivate…instead of being an arm chair quarterback.

When an aging cinema in marginal shape (especially one with little decoration like the Milford) comes down, I see it as a sign of the changing world. But this place has an outdoor ceiling…and has been restored. I hope somebody steps up.

JimRankin on January 18, 2005 at 1:36 pm

Of course these theatres shouldn’t be allowed to be demolished or to deteriorate to that state, but as always it is a cold, hard fact of money, or the lack of it. Theatres are wonderful things, but there is nothing practical about them; they cost and cost. If you and others on this site do not have the funds personally to invest in them through some sort of a foundation set legally to preserve them, consider approaching the owner to get them to hire one of the specialists in theatre/cinema renovation and rehabilitation. The League of Historic American Theatres ( ) is set up to help rescue such treasures, and here are just two of the national firms that specialize in bringing such palaces back to life:

The Theatre Historical Soc. of America is just outside of Chicago in Elmhurst ( ) and may be willing to join in consultation with the owners, if a responsible would-be owner/operator steps forward. There are several historic preservation groups in the Chicago area; surely one of them could spearhead this effort if a committee of concerned citizens formed a ‘Save-the-Patio’ group. I have left some of my own recommendations at:

“Life’s too short” is right; it is too short for the locals to simply sit back and lament the loss of what is their own, as though such works of art were disposable. Let us hope a Chicagolander is reading this, as well as the local press.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 18, 2005 at 8:49 am

It would be ridiculous to see this building demolished. If the Chicago preservation community ever had a cause to rally around, this is it. It is a true movie palace, and has been restored. It shouldn’t be allowed to slowly decline over the next fifteen years (as so many of these buildings have), to the point where it is unusable. The same is true of the New Regal.

richardg on January 10, 2005 at 4:06 pm

I was recently in touch with the son of one of the three Greek brothers who owned and built the Patio theatre. The family name Michalopoulous, was shortened and Americanized to Mitchell. He has lots of interesting stories about the Patio and the 13 other theatres the brothers owned in the Chicago area. When I visit the Chicago area again, I hope to find out more about the Patio’s history and I’ll share the stories with you.