Chicago is home to an array of unique movie theaters and while it is with a heavy heart we occasionally see some bite the dust, such as Rogers Park’s New 400 Theaters earlier this year, it is with reciprocal relief that we others live to see another day.
On the last day of 2023, Ramove Theatre in Bridgeport — one of Chicago’s long-standing vintage movie theaters — was reborn offering a multi-faceted revamped and reimagined entertainment venue.
According to a press release sent to Secret Chicago, the reopening was the culmination of years-long rehabilitation efforts alongside multi-million dollar public and private investments into the South Side Chicago community which will invigorate Bridgeport as a premier live entertainment destination.
It is the support from Chicago musical heavyweights Jennifer Hudson, Chance the Rapper, and Quincy Jones that has been making headlines. The three celebrities are now co-owners of the Ramova Theatre and have been working alongside developer Tyler Nevius on the theatre’s resurrection viewing it as another way to give back to their hometown’s thriving music and arts scene.
After opening in 1929, the Ramova Theatre remained Bridgeport’s primary movie theater, and one of the city’s top theaters, until it closed in 1985 following a final screening of “Police Academy 2.”
Efforts to breathe new life into the theatre kicked off in 2012 when Tyler Nevius first became an investor intent on overseeing the theater’s rehabilitation and then in 2021 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places thanks to years of grassroots campaigning from community members.
Now the landmark theater has reopened at 3520 South Halsted Street as a live music venue complete with a brewery, beer garden, and grill in partnership with Other Half Brewing.
“Not only will the theatre bring top touring acts to Bridgeport, but Ramova will also offer educational programs, workshops, and amplify community initiatives from local non-profits”, reads the official release. “Things might look slightly different than neighbors might remember, but the soul of Ramova will be stronger than ever.”
The venue’s 1,500+ capacity auditorium has been given an extensive overhaul keeping its iconic features but making it a state-of-the-art space after standing dormant for more than 30 years. But while Ramova Theatre’s position as a leading venue is creating a buzz going into 2024, the attached grill, beer garden, and brewery from Other Half Brewing will be equally as exciting news for many.
Other Half Ramova, as it is now known, will brew exclusive recipes while also offering various collaborations and taps from Chicago’s most beloved breweries. The brewery aims to build on Other Half’s neighborhood legacy by fostering community in Bridgeport like they do in Brooklyn, reads the release.
Ramova Grill, on the other hand, closed back in 2012 after an 82-year run in Bridgeport and reopened as a 20-seat restaurant. Overseen by partners Kevin Hickey and Brandon Phillips of The Duck Inn, the restaurant is attached to the brewery leading directly into it so guests can order from the grill while enjoying crafts from Other Half Brewing.
A beer garden also offers an expansive outdoor space for guests to take their food and drinks for pre- and post-show socializing.
More information can be found at ramovachicago.com.
[Featured image courtesy of Ramove Theatre]