Shangri-La Theater

222 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Formerly a restaurant.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Rhumba Casino, which opened in 1941, was built on the site of the Three Deuces nightclub (which was in business since the mid-1920s until it was destroyed in a fire in 1940. It gots its name from its address at 222 N. State Street). In 1944, the space became the Polynesian/Far Eastern-themed Shangri-La restaurant.

After the restaurant was closed in 1968, it was remodeled into the Shangri-La Theater in 1969-70. It was operated by Kohlberg Theaters, which was also the last chain to run the nearby Oriental Theatre as well as a number of other theaters and drive-ins around the Midwest. Opened in June 1970 with “The Strawberry Statement”, the Shangri-La began to show pornographic films within a year.

Operating into the mid-70s, the building which housed the Shangri-La was demolished in 1981 along with the entire block it sat on including an office building and retail stores, a fire station and a parking garage, and replaced by a hotel, now the Renaissance Chicago.

Any further information on the Shangri-La would be appreciated.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on August 8, 2007 at 3:36 pm

Here is a mid-1970s view of the Shangri-La.

View link

That the bus is in CTAs “Bi-Centennial” paint scheme would place the photo from 1974 to 1978.

I’m glad that places like this aren’t in the Loop (Chicago’s Downtown) anymore. The Loop is certainly a far nicer place than it was 25-30 years ago.

Greenpoint
Greenpoint on December 16, 2007 at 3:01 pm

Hey Paul the only thing I knew about Chicago was the projects from Good Times..were those down near the loop.

Broan
Broan on January 21, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Here is a photo of the Shangri-La’s interior while it was a restaurant.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 26, 2008 at 7:12 pm

BW

WOW was that restaurant ever GAUDY! I don’t think I’d ever be comfortable in a place like that.

Greenpoint,

No, those projects were likely Cabrini-Green on the city’s Near North Side. Fortunately, over the past decade, Cabrini-Green has largely been torn down.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on June 26, 2008 at 7:27 pm

BK,

Per your description above, I thought M&R was the last operator of the Oriental?

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on April 14, 2009 at 9:41 pm

I’m pretty sure we saw the Ali bio pic “The Greatest” at the Shangri-La. Before it went XXX or karate.

That black awning across the street was Govner’s Pub. They’d actually let people cash their paychecks at the bar, and then kept them there drinking. That building was also torn down a few years back as I recall.

Footage of Cabrini-Green WAS used for the “Good Times” TV show open. As well as other B-Roll of Chicago. But that was it. The interiors were filmed in California. “In front of a live studio audience”, as they said at shows end.

vicboda
vicboda on October 5, 2009 at 10:03 am

I saw a John Holmes double feature at this theater. It was a little strange – not like a real movie theater. Now I know it was really a restaurant it makes more sense.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on February 4, 2011 at 2:35 pm

A night photo of the Shangri-La when it was still a restaurant: View link

jmarlo
jmarlo on March 14, 2012 at 7:05 pm

It should be noted that Jazz Legend Art Tatum was a frequent piano player at the Three Deuces Night Club on this site back in the late 1930’s. Art was then and still is now the greatest Jazz pianist of all time. And in 55 years since his passing at age 47, no one has been able to equal his extraordinary technical skills at the piano. He was one of a kind.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on December 28, 2013 at 10:25 pm

I’ve added some more images to the Photos Section. One is of the Rhumba Casino that preceded the Shangri-La Restaurant, but in the same building.

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