Our Story

We are a group of enthusiastic entrepreneurs dedicated to seeing the NewBo community thrive. We came together with one goal: to revitalize a building that has been bringing our community together for over a century, and continue that legacy. Our mission is to create a home for local events and community members to come together to celebrate new beginnings, build relationships, and grow together with entrepreneurship, music, art and love.


Anna Hobart

Anna Hobart, Venue Manager

Anna has worked in the hospitality, event & wedding industry for more than seven years, most recently in Des Moines as the manager and cake decorator at Molly's Cupcakes. She's an entrepreneur at heart, and is excited to move back home to Cedar Rapids to begin this new adventure. As the Venue Manager, Anna will lead the team to deliver extraordinary events for The Olympic's clients.

Steve Shriver

Steve Shriver, Investor

Steve is a serial entrepreneur, having founded EcoLips in Marion, SOKO Outfitters in Czech Village, and Brewhemia, with his wife Andrea located on the first floor below The Olympic.

Eric Engelmann

Eric Engelmann, Investor

Eric founded Geonetric in 1999, and works with entrepreneurs today as the Executive Director of NewBoCo - located two blocks from the Theater.


The History of the ZCBJ Building

The New Bohemian Commercial District is brimming with heritage. Along these six blocks listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the past and the present collide at every turn. Hundreds of families settled here in the hopes of making a better life. Major manufacturers like the T.M. Sinclair and Company meat packing plant and the J.G. Cherry Company dairy equipment plant, along with dozens of small businesses, anchored this area as a thriving part of Cedar Rapids. The district continues to reinvent itself as a place dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship and cultivating the arts.

A tip o' the hat to those who've helped us capture the history of this building, including the Cedar Rapids History facebook page and Harvey Headbanger.


Our 1908 building was a social hub for the Czech community. It was built for the fraternal life association Západní Česko Bratrská Jednota (ZCBJ), which translates to Western Bohemian Fraternal Association. The organization helped generations of Bohemian Americans obtain financial security through life insurance. The society still lives on today as Western Fraternal Life.

The ZCBJ association was an offshoot of the Czech-Slovak Protective Society (C.S.P.S.), which established its first lodge in 1879 in Cedar Rapids. Formed in 1897, the ZCBJ fraction eventually built its headquarters – our building – just one block away. The organization grew to over 10,000 members within a decade, in part by extending membership to women.

The Olympic celebrates our rich immigrant legacy by continuing this spirit of togetherness. The ZCBJ’s third floor once served as the lodge hall, right where we continue to host events in the present. We are so proud to revive this piece of Cedar Rapids history in its entirety.


Until 1944, the first floor storefront that is today Brewhemia housed Severa Clothing store.

The upstairs remained ZCBJ Hall.

1940's - early 2000's

The upstairs served as ZCBJ Hall until 1960, then changed format numerous times as:

  • 1960: The Western Bohemian Fraternal Hall
  • 1960-1966: Knights of Pythias Lodge
  • 1969: Sokol Hall Social Hall
  • 1975-1976: Theater Lounge
  • 1983-1984: Dillon's Dance Lounge
  • 1985-1988: Pyramid Club II (apparently the Pyramid Club I was in Ames!)
  • 1990: Shades
  • 1992-1993: Spotlites
  • 1994-1998: Big Dogs

Meanwhile, the first floor corner storefront (Brewhemia) was a succession of pubs, including

  • 1944-1974: Country Club
  • 1975-1978: Bob's Happy Hour
  • 1979-1980: Jeannie's Lounge
  • 1983: Don's Corner Tap
  • 1984-1986: Corner Tap Lounge
  • 1986-1988: Foggy's Notion Lounge
  • 1990-1994: Jon's Fair Shake
  • 1995-2004: Left Bank

Other first floor office tenants included:

  • 1974-1975: Lyn's Novelties
  • 1976: Plant & Planters Boutique
  • 1978-1991: RAMCO Amusement
  • 1996-1998: Loving Touch Pet
  • 1991-2001: Pritele's Tavern
  • 2003-2004: Chester's on 3rd St


Harvey Headbanger at 3rd Street Live!, for a New Year's Eve show, December 31, 2012

In 1998, the upstairs hall became 3rd Street Live, a performance venue, featuring a wide variety of acts from all over the country. It featured a unique, U-shaped balcony surrounding the main theater floor.

On July 23, 2014, the Chrome Horse on the first floor suffered a fire that closed the upstairs hall for five years.


In August, 2016, Brewhemia opened on the first floor of the building.

In 2017, Caucho opened on the first floor of the building; and HBK Engineering opened as well.


On August 1, 2019, The Olympic South Side Theater was announced, planning to open in early 2020.

The Olympic South Side Theater


1202 3rd St SE, Ste 200
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

Get Directions


Phone: (319) 214-0392
Email: anna@TheOlympicCR.com



Open for tours by appointment only as we bring The Olympic to life by early 2020. Fill out an inquiry form to request a tour or to discuss your event.


© 2019 The Olympic South Side Theater, LLC.