People & Places

Social Hall latest addition to NewBo in Cedar Rapids

Jelinek family restores historic Ideal Theatre

Corbels and original tin ceiling at the Ideal Social Hall in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Corbels and original tin ceiling at the Ideal Social Hall in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — A new social hall is the Jelinek family’s latest addition to the New Bohemia District in Cedar Rapids.

The Jelineks’ restoration of the 1914-built Ideal Theatre building, which in recent years had been Borgenson Automotive Paint, is complete. The murals along the walls near the ceiling have been uncovered and the tin roof has been restored.

“Simple and elegant is what we are going for,” said Matt Aswegan, the events manager of the space.

They are calling it the Ideal Social Hall, 213 14th Ave. SE, and it opens this week.

A grand opening for the public is planned from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday. It will include free appetizers, beer and other refreshments.

“Ideal is like resurrecting a piece of lost history, preserving historic landmarks for generations to come,” said Steph Jelinek, in a news release. “The venue has been beautifully restored with the original tin ceiling and wainscoting still intact.”

The social hall will serve private events including weddings primarily on weekends, and business and social gatherings Sundays through Thursdays. This season, rates will range from $100 to $150 per hour and $1,000 to $2,750 per day, Aswegan said.

The space is wide open with a soaring ceiling. Old streetlights have been installed in the front of the room where a projector screen is located. The space also has a wireless sound system, bar and service kitchen.


The inside has a capacity of 175 people, and an outdoor space that will double the size of the venue also is being worked on, Aswegan said.

“At the moment it’s a blank slate so people could decorate it how they want,” he added.

In the early days, the Ideal Theatre was for films, but has had a much different use this century. It’s opening also marks another sign of life at the edge of the NewBo district as it expands south toward 16th Avenue SE.

The Jelineks, who are best known for Parlor City Pub and Eatery, 1125 Third St. SE in NewBo, bought the building in 2016, and have been working on the renovation for about a year and a half. City records show the Jelineks’ invested $700,000 in the restoration.

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