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 closing around 1988.

The former theatre served as retail and storage use for many years. It was vacant, available for lease in fall of 2016.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 51 comments)

Blessedtwoday
Blessedtwoday on July 27, 2013 at 10:00 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 29, 2013 at 12:17 am

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 10, 2013 at 12:00 am

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 6:08 am

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

kellylo
kellylo on December 30, 2013 at 12:52 am

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.

davidplomin
davidplomin on February 4, 2015 at 12:47 am

Kellylo, those old props and posters if they are still there, and not chewed up by the rats could be worth a FORTUNE! I hope whoever owns the building doesn’t do something rash and just throws them in the dumpster when/if they ever renovate the theater. Would make a great decor!

Broan
Broan on October 23, 2016 at 12:37 pm

The lobby storefront and theater are currently available for lease.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on January 7, 2017 at 10:37 am

I caught a ghost sign on the rear of the theatre from the L yesterday, in the afternoon sun. I’ll have to get back up to that area and see if I can access the alley to get a pic.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on March 20, 2017 at 1:03 pm

The Gar Wah was open at least into 1988, as I saw both “Robocop” and “Action Jackson” there. The latter was released February 12, 1988, and it was not first run at the Gar Wah.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on July 7, 2017 at 2:41 pm

I was finally able to get a halfway decent shot of the Bryn Mawr ghost signs on the South & East elevations of the building from the train. The East elevation is more legible, as there is a reflection of the train windows on the other one. I never noticed the one on the East elevation before, but it came out better than my intended one. Photo in the Photo’s section.

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