Bryn Mawr Theatre

1125 W. Bryn Mawr Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60660

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Bryn Mawr Theatre

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Opened in 1912, the Bryn Mawr Theatre is in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. It was just steps away from the Bryn Mawr Avenue "El" stop, so it was located in an area which received heavy foot (and also auto) traffic.

Renamed the New Bryn Mawr Theatre in the 1960’s, in the early-1980’s it was renamed Gar Wah Theatre, screening Chinese and mainstream Hollywood films. It operated until the mid-1980’s before closing.

Today, the former theatre serves as retail and storage use.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 53 comments)

warnergrand
warnergrand on February 26, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Griffey – can you give me a better idea of what the theatre was like? Ornate at all? How large was the balcony? Was there lots of plaster molding? Can’t find any photos – really want to know what this place was like!

Broan
Broan on February 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm

I was never there, but the sanborn maps indicate no balcony.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on February 27, 2013 at 12:45 am

warnergrad; I’ve been there a few times. An okay experience. Nothing really ornate. No balcony. Projection was half-way decent. Mono sound. It sort of looked like the Adelphi Theatre in Rogers Park. It’s now some type of warehouse.

Griffey30
Griffey30 on March 2, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Warmergrad ;Tim hit it right on the head. Actually the lobby was rather small. No balcony and the sound system was ok . We actually had to go to the alley side of the building and go under neath theater to turn marquee lights on and off until a timer was installed , which gives you an idea of the age of the building.

RickB
RickB on March 3, 2013 at 8:14 am

I went to the Bryn Mawr a number of times in the late ‘70s. It was essentially just a black box, but it was in decent shape and when the movie costs less than a round trip on the L, who can complain? In those days you could have a lot of fun in Chicago for not much money. From what I read, that has changed for the worse in recent times.

Blessedtwoday
Blessedtwoday on July 27, 2013 at 7:00 pm

I went there in 1976 (I was 11)when we first moved to the North Side. I remember when it cost .75 to see a movie! We were neighborhood kids who frequented there a lot. I loved, loved, loved it!! I remember everyone being upset because the price went up to .90!!! I attended Senn High School right down the street and had many dates there. Great memories!

korgsman
korgsman on July 28, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Blessedtwoday: I attended Senn High School too; it’s always nice to bump into a fellow “Sennite” online. and I also remember when the price increased from $0.75 to $0.90. I hung around the Bryn Mawr theater in the late 70’s and then again when it reopened as The New Bryn Mawr theater in the early 80’s. Best regards.

davidplomin
davidplomin on November 9, 2013 at 9:00 pm

It’s too bad they can’t reopen the theater. Outside of the 400 Theater a few miles north, that area of the city is severely under screened. The 80’s lost The Granada, Devon, Adelphi, Howard. That’s a LOT of seats. Bryn Mawr east of Kenmore is looking a lot better than those seedy days of the 80’s. Just push for improvements west all the way to Broadway! It can look like Lincoln Ave north of Fullerton!!

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on November 10, 2013 at 3:08 am

The Adelphi did not close in the 1980s. It closed around 2002 and got torn down in 2006.

kellylo
kellylo on December 29, 2013 at 9:52 pm

O worked at the Bryn Mawr theater from 1975 until 1980. Mr. Praught was the manager, and the projectionist was named Maurey. It was owned by the Balaban Brothers. The AMAZING thing about this theater was behind the curtain. Back in the day, it was an old vaudeville theater. There were all kinds of old props in the caverns behind the screen. Thousands of old posters rolled up and in little cubbies. We used to go back there all the time. Until we got chased out by a rat the size of my shoe. That pretty much ended our trips back there. There was nothing better in the world…back then…then walking down Brym Mawr in the hot, city summer….and feel the cold air blow on you…just like an invitation to come on in.

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