Davis Theater

4614 N Lincoln Ave Chicago

Western Brown Line/Davis Theater
Chicago Scene
Written By Chicago Scene

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For over 100 years, this theater has been a community staple; reflecting the changes of the neighborhood while standing as a beacon to its roots. As the last theater out of the original five built in Lincoln Square that’s still in business, it manages to blend the old and the new.

Built in 1918 as the Pershing Theater and named after John J. Pershing, who was the General of the Armies during the First World War. Famed architect Walter W. Ahlschlager, who designed the Roxy Theater in New York City and the Uptown Broadway Building in Chicago, created the building’s art deco appearance.

The first film shown at the Pershing was the silent film "The Forbidden City" that premiered in 1918.
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As Chicago’s longest continually running theater, the Davis maintains that Jazz Age glitz even through renovations and owner exchanges. Many vaudeville acts and silent films wowed the Pershing’s audiences. When Hollywood began making ‘talkies’ in the 1930s, the Pershing added a new sound system and relaunched as the Davis Theater. With an influx of German immigrants in the 1950s, the Davis began showing German language films alongside new American releases, such as Singin’ in the Rain and High Noon. Throughout the 1970s, the Davis Theater incorporated a variety of entertainment, such as puppet shows and film revivals.

After renovations were made in 2016, the Davis Theater became a historical landmark and also won them an award from Illinois Landmarks in 2018. These renovations included a brand new Carbon Arc Bar, which has a fully stocked bar and well-crafted food and housemade popcorn. You can enjoy your drink and meal you purchase there inside of the theater as well. Today, it shows new releases (prices are only $12 for adults and $9 for children), while hosting local film festivals and occasionally reviving film classics, like Die Hard during Christmas time. They also do trivia nights and Saturday morning cartoons.

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