Route 66 News

El Rey Theater in Albuquerque closes

The historic El Rey Theater in downtown Albuquerque closed a few days ago because the operator was encountering cash-flow problems with another venture, according to KOB-TV.

Here’s the station’s report:

The report makes it clear that El Rey, located on Central Avenue (aka Route 66), could reopen quickly if another operators signs a lease there. But apparently downtown is either struggling or a few businesses are going through bad luck.

A February 2013 report in the Albuquerque Journal said oil-industry businessman Tino Robles took over management of the theater to bring live music there. He spent about $700,000 on various upgrades there.

According to that article, El Rey — built in 1941 — and the neighboring Golden West saloon are knownn as the Puccini Building after Luigi Puccini, whose family holds the property in a trust.

As a live-music venue in the past 30-plus years, the theater has hosted an impressive array of acts, including Weezer, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Texas Tornadoes, Son Volt, Roger McGuinn, Phish, Richie Havens, No Doubt, Los Lobos, Lyle Lovett, Leon Russell, John Lee Hooker, Emmylou Harris, Bo Diddley and many more.

(Image of the El Rey Theater in 2011 by Pete Zarria via Flickr)