UPTOWN — Uptown lost one of its most popular entertainment destinations Saturday as the Annoyance Theatre and Bar, which is moving to Lakeview in the fall, put on its last slate of shows at 4830 N. Broadway.
The Annoyance plans to move to 851 W. Belmont Ave., on the second floor and basement of the former Toguri Mercantile Building. The move follows a two-year search by the improv comedy venue's owners for a new, bigger space to accommodate shows and improv classes in one place, rather than holding some classes off-site.
The Annoyance's departure is considered a blow to plans by the city, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) and community groups to make Uptown a thriving entertainment destination. Officials and business leaders said a few potential tenants have shown interest in the Annoyance space, but no deals have been struck.
Annoyance Productions President Jennifer Estlin said that while the idea of a bolstered entertainment district is exciting, Uptown still wasn't the best fit for the Annoyance going forward.
"After two years of looking at places, including in Uptown quite a bit ... there really just wasn't anything that we could find that could fit our needs," Estlin said. "I love the idea of the entertainment district and I think it's great but there still have not been enough spaces that have been defined that are suitable for entertainment and public assembly."
The Annoyance has called four other locations home in its 25-year history. This latest chapter, the Annoyance's sixth home, comes with a 10-year lease, less than two blocks from where the theater got its start at Belmont and Wilton avenues.
Estlin described putting on the Annoyance's last shows in Uptown as "slightly nostalgic and sad but also wonderful."
She posted a status on her Facebook page Saturday thanking "all who have been a part of everything we created there," during what she called "quite a joyful and amazing run," in Uptown.
"You have all been part of a tremendous and prolific process that we are excited to extend into our next home on Belmont. We'll see you there," Estlin said.