Downtown Bridgeport hasn’t had a movie theater downtown since the screen on Fairfield Avenue — which was a porn theater, and then a “family” cinema — closed in the 80s. Next door was Sol’s Cafe, which was a hangout for reporters at the Post and Telegram, back when reporters hung out in bars. Sol’s became a respectable restaurant years ago. Now, the Bijou Theater is about to return, making room for live acts, as well.
The exterior was restored a few years ago, and looks great. Upstairs, its second-floor ballroom and viewing balcony house Antinozzi Associates, and being architects, you know that their interior spaces look fantastic.
But with the Downtown Cabaret and the Playhouse on the Green in crisis, is this timing a little odd? Maybe, but developer Phil Kuchma may possesss the right alchemy to make this work. The neighborhood as a whole has been building, after a long, slow decline that started after World War II. Until then, the area was an active center, containing Howlands departement store, Sears, Barnum Hotel, Koenig’s Art Shop and an early iteration of the King Cole market.
And more here. Note the sarcastic remarks about the likelihood that the cinema would ever reopen.