El Rey Theatre

622 Central Avenue SW,
Albuquerque, NM 87102

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Related Websites

Historic El Rey (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Commonwealth Theaters Corp.

Architects: J.B. Burwinkle

Functions: Live Music Venue

Styles: Mission Revival

Previous Names: Reel Art Theatre

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News About This Theater

JUME 23, 2017

This historic former movie theatre opened on June 27, 1941. On July 30, 1969 it became the Reel Art Theatre screening adult movies. It was closed in 1972. It became a nightclub. It is located on the old Route 66. By 2019 it was operated as a live music venue.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 5, 2008 at 11:29 am

Don, It opened as the El Rey Theatre (in 1940’s and 1950’s editions of Film Daily Yearbook), then (I believe) its final times as a movie theatre it was re-named Reel Theatre. It has now gone back to its original name El Rey.

DonSolosan on February 5, 2008 at 3:41 pm

Ah, that clears that up. Things are never as simple as they seem around here!

I drove through Albuquerque last year with this theater on a list of places to photograph. Somehow I missed it.

kencmcintyre on September 21, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Here is a March 1948 ad from the Albuquerque Journal:

LouRugani on February 23, 2015 at 10:37 pm

This evening’s “Better Call Saul” episode with the twin (prop) pay telephones was set along the outer wall of the El Ray Theatre.

rivest266 on June 9, 2016 at 1:26 pm

June 27th, 1941 grand opening ad in photo section.

rivest266 on June 11, 2016 at 4:00 pm

Reopened as a adult theatre called Reel Art on July 30th, 1969 by Commonwealth Theatres. Its grand opening ad (outside of the CW listings) can be found in the photo section. Closed 1972.

MichaelKilgore on December 6, 2019 at 3:07 pm

Boxoffice, April 22, 1950: “Claude Graves has sold the El Rey at Albuquerque, N. M., to Marlin Butler, who now has three theatres there”

Motion Picture Herald, Oct. 11, 1952: “Albuquerque Exhibitors Inc. have bought the El Rey and La Sambea from Marlin Butler. Butler still retains the Ernie Pyle and Sunset drive-in.”

DavidZornig on December 23, 2019 at 6:19 pm

Live music venue today.
Official website below uses 622 Central Avenue SW as the address.


johnnyfly on October 10, 2023 at 8:25 pm

I think I saw Buckwheat Zydeco here around 1990.

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