Playhouse Theatre

1852 Central Avenue,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712

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Playhouse Theatre

This was an older movie theatre, opened in 1925 as the open-air Patio Theatre, and located just west of downtown St. Petersburg on Central Avenue at 19th Street. In 1928 it opened as an indoor theatre. It was renamed Playhouse Theatre around 1934. It was closed in 1973 and was a sports bar in the 1990’s. It is currently vacant.

Contributed by Andy

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

HDEngineer on December 2, 2016 at 8:46 am

Playhouse trivia….The curtain was indeed opened and closed by hand, when someone bothered. There were tape marks on the rope to show the proper masking positions, again if someone bothered to follow them…….

Is the building still for sale ?? Does anyone know how much and who the seller is ??

P. K. "Budd" Ballard
P. K. "Budd" Ballard on December 5, 2016 at 3:39 pm

After the PLAYHOUSE closed as a motion picture house, it was briefly the GOLDEN APPLE DINNER THEATRE.

Trolleyguy on December 6, 2016 at 8:20 am

HDEngineer. Why don’t you try the phone# on the side of the building that appears in Street View? 813-205-2028. The picture was taken in March 2015.

HDEngineer on January 13, 2017 at 10:37 am

I tried the number above but the person answering did not know anything….any other lead on the building ??


HistoricGal on January 20, 2017 at 9:51 am

HDEngineer. My husband & I have been trying for the last 2yrs to get info on this building to restore it etc. We have went round & round as it keeps changing commercial real estate companies for the sale. Now the $ of the building has went up 50% since it switched to the new listee. How can I get ahold of you to discuss?

HDEngineer on January 20, 2017 at 9:55 am

HDEngineer on January 31, 2017 at 12:07 pm

Hello Historic Gal: I was hoping to hear from you… Bill

HDEngineer on February 2, 2017 at 12:52 pm

I flew down from DC and visited the Playhouse today, fully intending to make a good offer to purchase the property. Regretfully, I found the theater in such poor condition that, in my opinion, any theater renovation effort would likely be prohibitively expensive. My best guess would be on the order of $20M. The bar folks appeared to have destroyed virtually everything that would have been of value in a theater renovation effort. The balcony risers and projection booth are gone. The main floor, stage, and orchestra pit are bastardized to accommodate the bar. (I have posted a picture.) The roof has been penetrated and evidences major water damage in several places. So, shed a tear and have a drink to the old Playhouse. She did her best, but her various owners neither respected her nor gave her the care she deserved. May she rest in peace.

Lance_Olson on December 4, 2017 at 1:33 pm

This theater is eligible for National Register. The SHPO survey calls her “Papa’s Dream” because it served as the music ministry venue of Freddie Langston. It has been connected to 1833 1st Ave. So. and is under construction as well as for sale. There is a fairly large crew. I’d guess it will reopen as a bar/club within a couple of months. It may se4rve the niche of the State Theater just a few blocks away, which is under severe scrutiny for life-safety issues. If HDEngineer is correct, it may no longer be NR eligible, but might fill a niche in StP.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 4, 2017 at 4:59 pm

The Patio Theatre was originally an airdome, and was in operation by 1926 (a number of modern sources say it opened in 1925.) The advertisement for the house in the April 14 issue of The Tampa Bay Times that year boasted: “PATIO, Central and 19th, Handsomest Open Air Theatre in America”. It’s possible that the 1928 opening that other sources give was its re-opening as an indoor theater.

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