Ramova Theatre

3518 S. Halsted Street,
Chicago, IL 60609

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Lasker & Sons

Architects: Meyer O. Nathan

Styles: Atmospheric, Spanish Renaissance

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News About This Theater

Ramova Theater

Built on the site of the Monogram Theatre (which has its own page on Cinema Treasures).

Located on S. Halstead Street at W. 35th Street in the Bridgeport neighborhood, the Ramova Theatre opened in September 1929 with John Boles in “The Desert Song”. It was equipped with a Western Electric sound system. It was a “sister” to the Music Box Theatre in Lake View, which was opened that same year. The architect of the Ramova Theatre was Meyer O. Nathan.

Like the smaller Music Box Theatre, which seats about half as many as the 1,500-seat Ramova Theatre, both were designed in Atmospheric style inside, their auditoriums built to resemble Spanish-courtyards. On the deep blue ceiling of the Ramova Theatre, “stars” glittered before each movie, and through the archways along the side walls were scenes of the Spanish countryside. Like the Music Box’s lobby, the blue sky with stars motif also continued into the ceiling. Faux-marble and gilded plasterwork were also in abundance, even more so than at the Music Box Theatre.

By the 1950’s, the Ramova Theater was no longer a first run house, but began to show second-run features.

The theatre was closed in April 1985 with “Police Academy 2”, and has since sat vacant, but very much intact, a reminder of the neighborhood’s past and a viable and eminently restorable venue for Bridgeport’s future.

Now owned by the city, in April 2021 it was announced that a renovation of the theatre was planned to convert into a community arts center. There will be a 200-seat small theatre space in the former balcony and the main floor would serve as a larger performance space. Costing $30 million, and with planning permission and a $6.64 million tax increment financing approved, restoration work was due to commence in October 2021 with a planned spring-2023 reopening. The plans also include a Brewhouse and restaurant and new project reopening should be in 2024.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 85 comments)

m00se1111 on March 24, 2023 at 3:30 pm

Happy seeing that this will remain an entertainment venue. Even moreso that the community supports it.

Oh, the website listed above is not working any longer.

Ssc48 on August 7, 2023 at 8:02 pm

Finished putting new infrastructure, now its time to add finishing touches. They are putting the new doors on and restoring marquee.

Trolleyguy on October 25, 2023 at 12:43 pm

Getting closer to opening according to Crains Chicago Business.Link

Trolleyguy on November 3, 2023 at 7:34 am

A brewhouse is planned for the center. Brewhouse

LouRugani on November 7, 2023 at 3:59 pm

The reopened Ramova Theatre will also be home to Other Half Brewing, which will open a brewery and taproom inside the Ramova Theatre that will be a 1,500-capacity concert venue and dining destination in the coming months. Developer Tyler Nevius is spearheading the Ramova redevelopment with Emily Nevius, his wife. “This idea of creating a music venue and a brewery was really developed organically with them to a great extent.”

Other Half chose to join the Ramova project for one primary reason: music. Other Half’s founder Matt Mohanan said “It just seems like a natural evolution for what we’re doing. Adding a music component to what we do, we’re just lucky to be here and excited.”

Other Half Ramova will include a taproom along Halsted Street. Behind that will be a glass wall where visitors can check out the on-site brewery production floor below with around 20 draft lines available in the taproom.

Other Half Ramova will adjoin the 20-seat Ramova Grill, itself reopening after an 82-year run in 2012. Kevin Hickey and Brandon Phillips will oversee the culinary and beverage programs at the grill respectively, with a full menu available to OHR patrons.

The city bought the Ramova Theatre, closed since 1985, in 2001 to preserve it for development, but officials struggled for years to find developers willing to invest in rehabilitating it. In 2020, the Ramova was sold to a venture led by Nevius’ Our Revival Chicago LLC. The $30 million project broke ground in 2021.

LouRugani on November 15, 2023 at 9:15 pm

Quincy Jones, actress/singer Jennifer Hudson, and entertainer Chance the Rapper and Quincy Jones have teamed up to reopen and revitalize the Ramova Theatre. Jones told the media “With Ramova, I see a future where the rich cultural heritage of Chicago shines even brighter alongside the country’s most talented artists, which will inspire future generations to come and bring glory to America’s Second City.” A press release said “Ramova will also offer educational programs [and] workshops, and amplify community initiatives from local nonprofits.” And the Ramova Grill, which closed in 2012 after 82 years of service, is reopening as a 20-seat restaurant.

Trolleyguy on November 16, 2023 at 1:37 pm

Here’s the story in its entirety with citation. Ramova

Ssc48 on November 27, 2023 at 8:03 pm


Ssc48 on November 27, 2023 at 8:03 pm

Reopening New years eye! Link is above

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