(Courtesy of Thalia Hall )
Before Punch House and Dusek's opened in Pilsen last year, Thalia Hall was just a building—a beautiful, historic, dusty building in need of a lot of TLC.
Bruce Finkelman and Craig Golden, who both have experience running music venues Empty Bottle and Evanston's Space, respectively, saw a diamond in the rough.
"Looking at the space, it’s not hard to figure out why it’s such an engaging property," Finkelman said last October, shortly after Punch House and Dusek's opened in the Thalia Hall building. Modeled after the Prague Opera House, Thalia Hall originally opened in 1892 and saw decades of political rallies, shows and concerts within its walls. The constitution of the Czech Republic was even partially drafted there, and the building was granted landmark status in 1985.
This May, Chicago will see Thalia Hall's rebirth as an entertainment and arts space. Finkelman and Goldman have planned performances beginning with a Panda Bear (member of Animal Collective) opening show on May 21. Bands such as Camera Obscura, The Mavericks and Lake Street Dive also are scheduled for the spring and summer.
The team sees their revitalization of Thalia Hall not as a new beginning, but a continuation of owner John Dusek's original dreams for the building.
"We’re not really here establishing anything," Finkelman said in October. "What we wanted to do was focus on reestablishing what [Dusek] brought to the community."
Read our full Punch House review.