The Patio Theater: Portage Park’s Movie Palace

Photo courtesy of The Patio Theater

First opened in 1927 as a mid-sized movie palace, the stunning 1500-seat Patio has opened its doors once again to movie-goers on the lookout for a marvelous film-watching experience at a price the average human being can afford.

Designed by Rudolph G. Wolff, this aesthetically captivating space features a completely restored neo-Pompeian lobby, state-of-the-art sound and a ceiling decorated with twinkling lights and projected clouds. Thankfully never carved up like many of Chicago’s other old movie palaces (The Davis, The Logan, etc.), The Patio also boasts one of Chicago’s largest single screens. Now operating as a second run theater, the screens typically show films about three or four weeks after their debut, for a fraction of the price. Tickets are $5 for all ages, and concessions ring in at almost half of what larger chain theaters will hit you for.

While The Patio is extremely affordable, new manager Demetri Kouvalis didn’t spare any expense in giving the old movie house a new life in the new millennium. The chance to walk around the lobby and take in the ornate flourishes and grand design of the building’s interior is worth five bucks in and of itself. Plans are in the works to bring more alternative programming to the theater in the future, with talk of short-run revival screenings, midnight shows, inclusion in Chicago’s film festival circuit and even stand-up comedy all churning in the rumor mill.

Either way, with the theater industry moving towards escalating prices and silly kitsch like recliners, bars in theaters and obnoxious 3D gimmickery, The Patio sets itself apart as one of the few places to truly watch a movie in style.

The Essentials:

Location: 6008 W. Irving Park Rd
Phone: 773.685.4291
Website:, and on Facebook here

Getting there:

Driving: Street Parking
L: Blue Line, Irving Park exit
Bus: #80 Irving Park bus, #91 Austin bus

Gene Wagendorf III

About Gene Wagendorf III

Gene is a writer who has spent his entire quarter century of life as a resident of Chicago. When not exploring the city he can be found wandering flea markets and garage sales or having a cigarette between classes at Northeastern Illinois University, where he hopes to acquire a degree in the next quarter century. His favorite smells are old books and bowling alleys. His poetry (how embarrassing!) can be found in issues of Kill Poet, Ditch, Word Riot, O Sweet Flowery Roses and Vowel Movements.

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