Shangri-La Theater

222 N. State Street,
Chicago, IL 60601

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Formerly a restaurant.

The Rhumba Casino, which opened in 1941, was built on the site of the Three Deuces nightclub (which was in business since the mid-1920’s until it was destroyed in a fire in 1940. It gets 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 June 26, 1970 with “The Strawberry Statement”, the Shangri-La Theatre began to show pornographic films within a year.

Operating into at least 1979, the building which housed the Shangri-La Theatre was demolished in 1981. Its site was used for a while as a parking lot. Eventually the remainder of the buildings on the entire block, an office building and retail stores, a fire station and a parking garage, were demolished and replaced by a hotel, now the Renaissance Chicago.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

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 on February 4, 2011 at 2:35 pm

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

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 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.

DavidZornig on March 20, 2016 at 10:35 am

Saint Patrick’s Day Parade 1959 photo added, courtesy of the Chicago’s Extinct Businesses facebook page.

DavidZornig on October 26, 2016 at 9:12 pm

1973 Tribune photo by Quentin C. Dodt in the link below.

rivest266 on November 13, 2016 at 10:15 am

This opened on June 26th, 1970. Grand opening ad in the photo section. Adult programming by the end of 1970 until it closed.

DavidZornig on March 19, 2017 at 8:50 am

1982 photo added credit John P. Keating Jr., that shows the parking structure continued to stand operational after the demolition of the Shangri-La in 1981. Additional parking was created were it had stood as well. So the subsequent demolition of the parking structure and hotel development happened later.

DavidZornig on November 16, 2017 at 7:23 am

“Happy Birthday Kup” in a brief glimpse of the Shangri-La marquee at the head end of this 1965 film on YouTube.

DavidZornig on March 14, 2019 at 7:16 pm

It appears the Shangri-La was still open in mid `79. Just added a photo that shows the State Street Mall nearing completion, and the Shangri-La still seems possibly active.

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