The Metropolist

Remembering Two Tivolis: The Opera Restaurant and Theater

By The Metropolist
Friday, June 26, 2009

Our alphabetical march down memory lane continues with a pair of places named Tivoli.

The Opera Restaurant

It was the early 1960s, and I was on a date with a student at Georgetown University. He took me to the Tivoli Opera Restaurant on Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown for dinner. It was my first introduction to the world of opera. Various singers from visiting opera companies came to the restaurant to sing for the diners. That night, I heard two men sing the duet from "The Pearl Fishers." Imagine the impact of that strong, beautiful singing in a small place! I left that night with stars in my eyes and a lifelong love of opera.

-- Kathy Woodworth,

Silver Spring

The Theater

While most of the major movie houses were downtown, some even featuring stage shows such as the Loews Capital, there was one major theater removed from downtown Washington that could be described as a movie palace, namely the Tivoli Theatre at the intersection of 14th Street and Park Road. While I was as close to the much smaller York and Colony theaters on Georgia Avenue, the Tivoli was always the one of choice, as one felt that it was not only a movie house there but an experience.

-- Nelson Marans, Silver Spring

My fondest memory of my childhood in the late 1940s was going to the Saturday matinee at the Tivoli Theatre. My mother and I went every Saturday, rain or shine. The movie always included a cartoon and a serial (Superman, etc.) that always ended in a cliffhanger that ensured you would be back next Saturday to see if your hero survived.

After the movie we would walk down 14th Street to the dime store, which had a lunch counter, and have a hot fudge sundae. I still love hot fudge sundaes and always think of those wonderful long-ago Saturdays.

-- Barbara Switzer, Easton, Md.

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