Catlow Theater in Barrington, Illinois

18. Experience the Catlow Theater

Home Newsroom 18. Experience the Catlow Theater

Downtown Barrington may not be a big place, but there’s one place that defines its skyline like no other.  From first dates to favorite movies, the historic Catlow Theater holds so many memories and is a true Barrington treasure.

Catlow Theater in Barrington, Illinois

Wright CatlowBarrington Business owner, Wright Catlow, opened the theater back in May of 1927. His father owned the building which had previously been used as the Village meeting place. When the era’s silent films grew in popularity, Wright saw the need to create a space to accomodate the area’s growing film audience and the Catlow Theater was born.

From The Godfather to Goonies, Gremlins to Gone with the Wind, generations of great movies have played at The Catlow since it opened 83 years ago. There are Barrington residents who remember when a movie ticket and a big box of popcorn were .25-cents each. It’s just one of those places that has become the backdrop for so many personal memories and it’s a business that’s still going strong.

Boloney's Restaurant in BarringtonThe Catlow Theater has changed hands twice since it was opened by the Catlow family. When the second owner decided to sell the theater back in 1988, the owners of Boloney’s restaurant next door bought it and found a way to make a trip to The Catlow an even more unique experience. They offered in-theater dining, establishing the Catlow as one of the nation’s first dine-in movie theaters as early as 1988.  In 1989, The Catlow made The National Register of Historic Places.

Owner, Roberta Rapata, says their business is booming, even in our tough economy. She says “it’s because people don’t feel like they need to get financing when they come or feel gouged when they leave.” The cost of admission for all showings on their single-screen is $5.00. The going rate to see a movie at a large theater is almost twice as much.

The Catlow’s great movies and Boloney’s great food are a winning combination. If you’ve ever had a Boloney’s sandwich, you probably fell in love. And, by the way, Roberta says they’re really picky about their popcorn. Whether it’s their plain, carmel, cheese or combo corn, if the kernels aren’t huge and the popcorn’s not fluffy, they’ll send it back.

Movie times at the Catlow are Fridays & Saturdays at 5:45 & 8:00 and Sunday through Thursday at 7PM. You can learn more about the Catlow or submit your choice for their next feature on their website at

***The theater and restaurant will also be featured TONIGHT as The Big Deal on ABC Chicago’s “190 North” at 10:35 P.M.  Be sure to tune in to watch as this popular Barrington destination makes news in Chicago.***

Catlow Theater

116 W. Main Street

Barrington, IL 60010

(847) 381-0777

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