Mercury Theatre

3745 N. Southport Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60613

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Ssc48 on July 6, 2022 at 6:46 pm

This theatre is reopen by a new company used for plays and events!

RickB on April 8, 2021 at 1:07 pm

Perhaps not so permanently: money found for a fresh start for the Mercury. Block Club Chicago story here.

DavidZornig on June 16, 2020 at 3:01 pm

Closing permanently at the end of the month.

HughJazz on March 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm

The liquor store on the site was Crown Liquors. My father, “Whitey” who managed the Music Box Theater from 1929 until his death in 1975, was friends with Frankie who delivered for Crown using only a special bicycle with a large basket in front and a large triangular kickstand. I never saw Frankie drive a car, but I was told he was pretty well-off financially.

jepperson1 on January 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Hello Cinema Treasures! I represent the new ownership of the Mercury. The building, which includes the 290 seat Mercury Theater, Cullen’s Bar and Grill, and an as of yet unoccupied space (formerly Strega Nona/Take 5), was purchased by a group of investors in October of 2010, who named Walter Stearns, former artistic director of Porchlight Music Theater as Executive Director. The theater has sat dark for the past 18 months, after successful runs of The Screwtape Letters and Marks Gospel. The Mercury will soon return as a prime home for live theater in Chicago. Currently, minor renovations are underway and the theater should be re-opening in February 2011. Visit our website at for more information

TLSLOEWS on July 16, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Nice looking theatre and complex DarkRefrain.

Tim O'Neill
Tim O'Neill on July 12, 2010 at 11:55 am

The Esthena Theatre was located at 3709 N. Southport. It was a liquor store for many years until it got torn down in 2000. It’s now a condo.

DavidZornig on October 18, 2008 at 2:32 am

The Mercury has had some extended run live shows as of late. The Buddy Holly Story, Ron Hawking’s Sinatra Tribute, etc. (Urinetown I think was cancelled before it could open.)

That stretch of Southport has a quite active nightlife. There are taverns on either side of the Mercury. Take 5 and an Irish restaurant/tavern called Cullen’s. The latter is actually kind of partially incorporated in/next to the theatre.
To serve the theatre patrons as I remember. They may have a management deal or are/were part owners of the Mercury.

Much like the old Drury Lane on Pearson was to former neighboring nightclub Tamborine, musicians from the Mercury would often play at the neighboring bars on some off nights.
The Buddy Holly Story guys had their own offshoot band doing originals & some covers at Blue Bayou across the street. A buddy of mine ran karaoke at Blue Bayou, and they’d even show up for that after shows or gigs.

LouisRugani on February 21, 2007 at 12:55 pm

That happened two weeks before the Chicago Tribune announced the “New Blaine” Theatre would be built nearby, which of course turned out to be the Music Box. Who would have imagined that both theatres would still co-exist in the 21st Century, and under different names?

LouisRugani on April 30, 2006 at 5:38 am

Thank you, Brian. That’s valuable information, as most accounts I’ve read have the Blaine closing around 1920 and don’t mention the name connection to the Music Box.
Also, in a 2005 article on the Mercury, the Chicago Tribune misspelled the name as ‘Blane’.

It’s great to see Chicago reusing these smaller and long-forgotten neighborhood theatres.

Broan on April 29, 2006 at 3:55 pm

You’re right; it’s not. The Blaine school, named for politician James G. Blaine opened in 1893. The Blaine stayed in operation until the opening of the Music Box (which was originally to be called the New Blaine) in 1928

LouisRugani on April 27, 2006 at 3:01 am

Just north of the theatre and across the street is the James Blaine Elementary School, and I wanted to point out the coincidence, (which probably isn’t coincidental at all).

cater on February 14, 2005 at 2:19 pm

The Mercury Theatre will be auctioned on March 8, 2005 by Inland Real Estate Auctions, Inc.

Also up for auction, as part of the same property, are the neighboring spaces housing Strega Nona restaurant and Cullen’s Bar & Grill.

More information can be found at and

Interested bidders must inspect the property at bidders' seminars scheduled before the auction. For details call 630/990-5353.

Broan on February 11, 2005 at 12:08 am

Jazz Age Chicago shows this as having once been named Esthena