Former Theatre in NewBo Transformed into Ideal Social Hall         

By Cindy Hadish

CEDAR RAPIDS – A historic theater in New Bohemia is taking center stage as the “ideal” rental site for weddings, business meetings and social events.

The Ideal Social Hall, 213 16th Ave SE, held its grand opening in November after undergoing nearly three years of renovations under the Jelinek family, owners of Parlor City Pub & Eatery, just blocks away at 1125 Third St. SE.

“Ideal Social Hall complements other attractions in the district by providing a historical option,” Steph Jelinek said. “This helps makes NewBo a destination for planners looking for event space located in an arts and cultural district in the heart of Cedar Rapids.”

With 3,000-square-feet of indoor space, Ideal Social Hall can seat 175 people at banquet-style seating, and 300 for those sit-down meals when outdoor space is included. For drinks and appetizers, the interior fits 250 people, or up to 500 including the outdoor space.
Jelinek said Sunday through Thursday features an hourly rate of $100, for business meetings, conferences, presentations and other offsite corporate events, while Fridays and Saturdays focus on weddings and social events, with rates varying, depending on the type of event and timeline.

Ideal Social Hall also is available for parties, showers, anniversaries and other social gatherings, and events such as vendor shows.

Amenities include:
-- Flexible booking times to ensure you’ll have all the time you want for your event.

-- Seasonal outdoor space next to the building available at no additional cost for tents or food trucks. Tent rental is available in different size and color options.

-- State-of-the-art audio and video equipment ranging from complimentary wireless Internet to a 14-foot projector and 55-inch TV. Content can be displayed using AirPlay, Google Chrome Cast, DVD player or an HDMI cord connected to your computer.

-- Audio equipment includes: Surround Sound, two microphones with stands, one wireless microphone and one headset microphone. All audiovisual equipment is included at no extra charge.

-- Multiple options for room setup. Five-foot round tables or 8-foot rectangular tables are available as part of the rental fee. Available table layouts can be viewed on the Ideal Social Hall website. Table and chair setup according to requested layout is included in the room rental.

-- An open-vendor policy allows you to bring in the vendors or service-providers of your choice, even including your own food. Catering is available through Parlor City, if desired, and all drinks must be provided through Ideal Social Hall.

-- More than 100 on-street parking spaces within a one-block radius and more than 500 spots within three blocks.

Jelinek noted that the decor of the hall is unique and visually appealing in itself.

“The historical decor lends itself to showcasing it as-is, or dressing it up by adding uplighting, for example,” she said. “It can really transform that space.”

Built in 1914, the Ideal Theatre was one of three silent movie theaters in the district that catered to the neighborhood’s Bohemian immigrants. Both the Praha Theatre, at 227 14th Ave. SE, and the Olympic, later named the Strand Theatre, at 1124 Third St. SE, have since been demolished.

According to the National Register of Historic Places, the Ideal Theatre was built and initially operated by Frank J. Smid, proprietor of Smid’s Hardware Store located just across the alley at 219 14th Ave. SE.

The Ideal Theatre was converted to a box factory in the 1920s and Smid eventually relocated his hardware store there during the 1930s. Borgenson Automotive Paint moved into the building in the 1980s, and reopened after the 2008 flood that devastated New Bohemia and other core neighborhoods of Cedar Rapids.

Jon Jelinek purchased the building in 2014 and spent nearly three years with his family transforming it into a reception hall. Two murals of nature scenes, thought to be a lost cause due to damage sustained over the years, have been restored, along with original tin ceilings and other architectural features. Original tiles denote the theater’s name outside the entrance.

The historic building is an integral structure in the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District of Cedar Rapids.

“It’s like resurrecting a piece of lost history – preserving historic landmarks for generations to come,” Steph Jelinek said of the former theater. “Our goal is to provide the ideal space for weddings, corporate events and times for social gathering.”

Contact Ideal Social Hall: event@idealsocialhall.com or (319) 573-6310. See more at: www.idealsocialhall.com

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