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Uptown’s Underground

It’s well known that to Al Capone and his henchmen, Uptown was a popular destination for business and pleasure. Rumor has it that the Uptown neighborhood hides Capone’s own private network of underground tunnels, to serve as escape routes when when police raided the bars and theaters of the neighborhood.  Sometimes a businessman needed a quick, discrete way to exit a late-night business establishment!

The tunnels underneath the Green Mill are very well known. Uptown Broadway Building

Our building, the Uptown Broadway Building was built in 1926 – the same year as The Aragon Ballroom and only a year after The Uptown Theatre. Imagine the construction boom in the neighborhood at that time! Designed by Walter W. Ahlschlager in the Spanish-Baroque style, it was said to house a speakeasy in the very space now occupied by the Uptown Underground, accessible by those infamous tunnels.

So – do they exist? Are there “Capone Tunnels” into the “Uptown Underground”? For now we’ll plead the fifth and take a page from The Green Mill’s book: No Tours. However, we won’t stop our visitors from exploring the theater and making their own judgements.

For more information on the “Capone Tunnels”, enjoy this short feature from WBEZ.

Places To Eat

Here are a few places we highly recommend, all within walking distance from North (Argyle St) to South (Wilson Ave). Take your pick of international cuisines – there’s something for everyone!

Other Things To Do

We’re in good company! Uptown is home to a number of different historical entertainment destinations. Check out our neighbors:

  • The Aragon Ballroom – built in 1926 and once “the most famous dance hall in America,” The Aragon Ballroom decor resembles a Spanish courtyard and is now the home to many a live music rock concert.
  • Green Mill Cocktail Lounge – probably the most well-known haunt of Al Capone himself and long part of Chicago’s gangster-lore, The Green Mill preserves the jazz history of the 40s and is home to “Stella by Starlight” – a statue of the goddess Ceres, and Capone’s famous booth.
  • The Riviera Theater – now owned by JAM Productions and a solid concert venue, The Riviera was built as a film house and then turned private nightclub. The oldest theater of the trio, it was constructed in 1917!
  • The Uptown Theatre – currently in a state of disrepair, but once a majestic 4,300 seat house, The Uptown Theatre was built in 1925 in the “nickelodeon era” as a film house complete with stage, orchestra pit and Wurlitzer organ (the second-largest one in operation at the time). It was constructed by the design team of Rapp & Rapp and owned by the Balaban & Katz Corporation, who also built The Chicago Theatre, The Riviera Theatre, The Central Park Theatre and The Tivoli Theatre (demolished in 1963).