Alvin Theatre

1612 W. Chicago Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60622

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Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments

RickB on April 22, 2021 at 5:05 pm

The ballroom did not survive the pandemic. New occupant of the space is an art gallery called PATRON, opening Saturday 4/24. Block Club Chicago story here.

LouRugani on February 2, 2021 at 11:23 pm

In 1913, Alvin Alberti, son of Edward Alberti, started a small chain of theaters in Chicago. In 1914, he opened the Alvin Theatre. The theater contained approximately 600 seats. In later years, it was part of the Balaban & Katz Wonder Theaters chain.

Trolleyguy on May 15, 2018 at 10:33 pm

There are a couple of interior pictures on the website. It’s basically a large open space with exposed brick walls.

Ormen on May 15, 2018 at 10:26 pm

My dad owned the theatre in the 70s. It was Spanish movies. He also owned Hub theatre. Sold it in 78'

Broan on August 25, 2016 at 6:30 am

The Shapiro Ballroom is scheduled to open October 3. Looks like it was gutted.

deemccord on April 13, 2016 at 12:51 pm

Right now we are replacing the roof but I will once I can get in there also…

We are raising money for the restoration of the marquee. If you get a minute to read more about us and share!

Thank you

Broan on April 9, 2016 at 9:36 pm

It would be great if you could post some renovation photos here.

Broan on April 9, 2016 at 9:15 pm

There’s not likely to be much out there. The Theatre Historical Society in Elmhurst may or may not have anything. I find that the building permit was listed in the November 9, 1912 issue of American Contractor, so it was likely opened in 1913. The architect was David Saul Klafter, who designed a number of mostly inexpensively-built small movie theaters in the early teens. The most recognizable of these today is now the Fluevog store in Wicker Park. The theater was built for owners Louis and Samuel Ogus and Frank Rabinovich and leased to Alvin Alberti. The building was sold to Herman R. Misch in November 1914. It was being run by George L. Levine and showing Triangle and Universal Pictures. The association with Triangle may explain the triangle decorations on the exterior. George Levine was an interesting guy who grew up with the motion picture industry. He started as a peanut boy at the Iola Theater in Wicker Park as a peanut boy and became assistant manager there by age 12. By 16, he became manager of the Alvin. At 19, he left to work for Universal’s Chicago branch as a salesman. At 21, he became manager of their short film distribution in Chicago. The next year, he became manager of Universal’s Milwaukee Film Exchange. At 28 he was promoted to manage all short subjects for Universal in New York, but moved back to run Milwaukee again after a few months of outcry. He remained Carl Laemmle’s right hand man in the Midwest until 1935. He remained in the business, operating theaters independently until the 1960s.

deemccord on April 9, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Hey! I am the owner of The Shapiro Ballroom coming soon to the Alvin Theater. We will be an event center and dance studio. I am looking for information on the history of the theater. Does anyone have any resources?

Dont worry the Marquee is coming back. We are currently fundraining to restore it.

Thank you!

Broan on January 17, 2016 at 11:50 am

Here is a THSA image of the Alvin

DavidZornig on September 21, 2015 at 5:23 pm

3 photos of today’s removal of the Alvin marquee added. All 3 photos credit Joe Salas.

GFeret on August 6, 2015 at 3:21 pm

the Shapiro Dance Studio, available for wedding rentals too. I think the marquee will remain, somehow, to open late this year?

RickB on August 6, 2015 at 8:34 am

Ballroom dance studio and banquet hall planned for the Alvin; renovations scheduled to begin by month’s end. DNAInfo story here.

blurachel on April 29, 2015 at 6:14 pm

If anyone’s curious, the building has been leased and will be renovated by this Fall.

GFeret on March 19, 2012 at 12:29 pm

i walk past the (former) ALVIN THEATRE a couple times a year, when me & wife Claire get a yearning for a slice at Hoosier Mama’s Pie bakery right next door. recall last year (2011) people there talking ALVIN building was on the market

kencmcintyre on April 18, 2009 at 7:18 pm

Compare the 1982 photo to the Loopnet photo posted in December 2006:

chicagoavenue on January 12, 2009 at 6:31 pm

Andie’s Candies. That place was as cold as a meat locker and they had the COLDEST water too. Braverman’s,..Green River…yes, I had forgoten about those places. Woolworth’s was a good place to grade an RC and a plate of fries for a quick lunch. Thanks for the memory jolt!

WDM on January 12, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Often went there as a kid in the 60’s. Thought it was weird the Hub and Alvin so close to each other but gave you a choice of movies. Plenty of good eats near at Braverman’s. Also near was Todd’s Burgers. Todd opened the place out of High School in the mid 60’s. Was almost next to the ALvin but moved down Chicago Av. Also at Chicago and Ashland was Helen’s Grill. a 7 seat lunch counter. Burger and chips, no fries … Or Goldblatt’s for the lunch counter or just grab a Green River at the Andie’s Candies.

kencmcintyre on November 30, 2008 at 2:29 pm

Loopnet still has the ad posted, but says the building is no longer available. Maybe in escrow or they took it off the market.

chicagoavenue on October 2, 2008 at 10:51 am

I saw my first movies at the Alvin – they excelled at triple features in the 60s!. I also worked there one summer in the 60s – my first paycheck was aboutn $86 and change. I preferred it to the Hub because it was smaller and closer to where I lived – Chicago and Ashland. I still go back to the old neighborhood and yes, the Alvin was turned into a clothing store. I hope it’s resurrected as the neighborhood seems to be going that way.

korgsman on May 23, 2008 at 5:03 pm

This was the first movie house I ever attended! I arrived in the U.S. in July, 1975. Being from a small town in Mexico, I had never attended one. My older brother got me hooked on movies!!! Anyway, I recall seeing a Mexican vampire film and a western (I have no idea of the titles) and my brother had a girlfriend who cashiered at a small record store next door to the theater. So began my long love of movies.

Broan on November 23, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Architect was David Saul Klafter.

KenC on December 5, 2006 at 8:03 pm

The Alvin theatre was open at least through 1969- possibly even 1970, early ‘71. I was never inside, but passed by on the Chicago Ave. bus a few times, on my way to the Hub theatre. Both theatres closed about the same time. The Alvin was not a B&K theatre(at least from 1959-on). Like the Hub, it played double or triple features, with about 3 program changes a week.

Sauce on October 20, 2006 at 11:57 pm

It’s currently vacant and up for sale. Please no more condos.