Piper's Alley Theatre

1608 N. Wells Street,
Chicago, IL 60614

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Piper's Alley Theatre

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The Piper’s Alley movie theater located inside the mall of the same name. It opened in the trendy Old Town neighborhood in 1991 and has four screens. The Piper’s Alley, originally operated by Sony Theatres, then became a Loews Cineplex theater. The Piper’s Alley screened mainly independent films. Inside the same mall is the legendary Second City Theatre, as well as a smaller Second City stage, called Second City, Etc.

Interestingly, the entrance to the Second City on Wells Street uses a large fragment of the facade of the long-razed Garrick Theatre from the Loop, designed by Louis H. Sullivan. Another part of the entrance parodies the Garrick facade, which depicts busts of famous Germans (the Garrick was originally the Schiller Theatre), showing famous members of the Second City company from the past.

Last operated by AMC Theatres, it was still a popular movie house, though the Piper’s Alley began to show its age. It was closed on May 27, 2011.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 43 comments)

JRS40
JRS40 on May 26, 2011 at 10:08 am

Good riddance to this dump. Hopefully someone will come in and make something special of it again.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 26, 2011 at 10:30 am

Just going from memory, a few things I saw here in the last 20 years. Dragged to “Priscilla Queen Of The Desert”, by a date I could never say no to. But often had to carry her home. “Dangerous Liasons” which I can’t even spell apparently. A re-release of “Basic Instinct”. I think need to pick better girls. And maybe a 1st run of “Singles”. Which pretty much sums up more than the theater, I’d say. Hope it gets some caring new owners who heed my advice in my older posts.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 27, 2011 at 7:53 am

The story also made the local NBC news last night. But being it’s only a 20 year old theater, they couldn’t really pump up the history any.
As I mentioned before, as vibrant as that area still is, there is no reason a well run operation can’t create as well as fill the need. With 4 screens they could split the fare with 1st & art house films. Just needs a lot of freshening up, and a new attitude.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 27, 2011 at 7:53 am

The story also made the local NBC news last night. But being it’s only a 20 year old theater, they couldn’t really pump up the history any.
As I mentioned before, as vibrant as that area still is, there is no reason a well run operation can’t create as well as fill the need. With 4 screens they could split the fare with 1st & art house films. Just needs a lot of freshening up, and a new attitude.

WHALER66
WHALER66 on June 6, 2011 at 8:11 pm

AMC does it again. They starved another theater that they had no use for into oblivion. They took out the Esquire and now the Pipers Alley, and I guess the Norridge is next on the hit list. Just like the Esquire….. they stocked it with films nobody wanted to see and then the revenues dropped to the point where they have enough leeway to be rid of the property. Shame on you AMC.

JamesPiscitelli
JamesPiscitelli on June 8, 2011 at 10:36 am

Hopefully another chain will take over like The Picture Show Entertainment, Classic Cinemas or Regal Entertainment. One time they were showing classic films (like the 600 North Michigan) and movies just out of first-run theatres.

Broan
Broan on June 8, 2011 at 11:20 am

There are rumblings. http://chicago.racked.com/archives/2011/06/02/whats-playing-at-pipers-alley-this-weekend-nothing-is-a-new-theater-looking-at-the-space.php

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 29, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Had to do a double take tonight, while driving by Piper’s Alley Theatre. The marquee was fully on, with most of it’s moving lights in tact. Yet as we know, no movie names, just blank spaces. It appears Piper’s Alley is just using the marquee as a way to attract attention to the other businesses within the complex.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on November 29, 2011 at 8:11 pm

The marquee could still be on a timer and it just automatically goes on and off.

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on November 12, 2013 at 3:44 am

Is anything happening with this theater?

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