Rising above the wide array of coffee shops, bars, diners, and various small businesses in historic Lincoln Square, five white-lettered squares with red backgrounds are visible from the L trains whizzing along the tracks through the Western station on the Brown Line. These five letters (D - A - V - I - S) mark the location of the stalwart Davis Theater. More than a friendly neighborhood movie house, it's also somewhat of a landmark, having been in business for over 80 years.
Entering the Davis serves as a pleasant reminder of a time when a movie theater was more than just a place for production companies to measure their success in box office grosses. Behind the single ticket booth—located immediately to the right of the entrance—sits a friendly employee selling tickets with a smile (and accepting cash only, by the way). Though relatively small (four screens), the Davis offers everything larger, newer theaters provide, just on a humbler scale. The typical concessions sell for a reasonable price—by movie theater standards—and a modest condiments bar is easily accessible in the lobby.
The age of the theater is quite evident throughout the venue, from the dangling chandelier in the lobby to the ragged carpet and occasional black plastic trash bag covering a broken movie seat here and there. Though a thorough cleaning would definitely do the place some good, the general dinginess is more endearing than detrimental. The overall ambiance is that of a once-stately domain beginning to show signs of its age. But with matinee tickets still only $5.50, and evening shows at $8, the Davis offers more blockbuster for your buck than the majority of theaters in Chicago.
Centerstage Reviewer: Zach Freeman