Congress Theater

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Congress Theater
Congress Theater Chicago.jpg
The Congress Theater in 2008
Address 2135 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, Illinois
United States
Coordinates 41°55′12″N 87°41′32″W / 41.92°N 87.69222°W / 41.92; -87.69222
Owner New Congress LLC
Designation National Landmark
Type mixed-use theater block
Capacity 3500
Current use Closed for renovation
Built 1926 (1926)
Reopened (projected) 2019
Years active 1926-2013
Architect Fridstein & Company
Designated July 10, 2002
Designated January 6, 2017

The Congress Theater is a historic movie palace in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago. Fridstein and Company designed it in 1926 for the movie theater operator Lubliner and Trinz. It features ornate exterior and interior design work in a combination of the Classical Revival and Italian Renaissance styles. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2017.

In its heyday, the Congress Theater could seat over 2,904 moviegoers. The theater block also had 17 retail storefronts with 56 apartments above. More recently, the theater operated as a 3,500-capacity live music venue.

In April 2013, the theater was shut down and had its liquor license revoked due to numerous safety code violations.[1] It was a source of controversy due to issues such as liquor violations, a notoriously tough security team, and lax building upkeep.[2]

In early 2014, Carranza announced he would sell the theater to developer Michael Moyer.[2] Moyer plans to spend $65 million restoring the theater, with the goal of reopening the Congress in 2019.[3]

Notable events[edit]

The lobby of the theater
  • The theater was designated a Chicago Landmark on July 10, 2002.[4]
  • In August 2008, pop punk band Paramore recorded a live CD/DVD titled The Final Riot! at the theater. It was released in November 2008 and it was awarded in US (Gold Album) and Canada (Platinum Album).
  • On March 31, 2009, VH1 Storytellers recorded a segment on blues band ZZ Top at the Congress Theater; the show aired June 27, 2009, on VH1 Classic.
  • As part of his 2012 New Year's Eve performance, producer/DJ Rusko shot the music video for hit single "Somebody to Love" , released via Diplo's Mad Decent record label. [5]


Jamiroquai performing at the Congress on October 30, 2005
  1. ^ DiCrescenzo, Brent (May 24, 2013). "Congress Theater in peril as city revokes liquor license". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved 12 April 2018. 
  2. ^ a b DeRogatis, Jim (January 19, 2014). "Sale of Congress Theater pending". WBEZ. Retrieved 12 April 2018. 
  3. ^ Yerak, Becky (October 12, 2017). "With $65 million renovation soon underway, Congress Theater looks to reopen in 2019". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 12 April 2018. 
  4. ^ "Chicago Landmarks: Congress Theater". City of Chicago. Retrieved 2007-05-21. 
  5. ^ "Rusko - Somebody to Love". YouTube. March 13, 2012.