This is a HUGE week for entertainment lovers here in Portland, Maine.

We are still experiencing losses from the pandemic and having nostalgic conversations sharing “remember when” stories about our favorite places in the state that sadly shut down. For a long time, the upstairs entertainment venue at Empire was one of those losses to be remembered.

The entertainment venue in the upstairs part of the Empire Chinese Kitchen restaurant building closed down in March 2020 and I am so proud and happy to stay that it’s back, baby!

Empire Live in Portland, Maine

Sitting on top of the Empire Chinese Kitchen restaurant on Congress Street used to be the Empire Comedy Club, formerly known as Empire Live Music and Events.

If you mention the space to any locals, they will quickly tell you with a smile on their faces all of their favorite shows and performances they saw in the intimate venue. Those stories are now making a comeback with the newly reopened space, Empire Live.

The second-floor venue will now be hosting shows for burlesque, comedy, and music and already has a schedule out for the upcoming shows. The beloved spot opened on March 25, 2023, and we couldn’t be happier to have the space back.

The new venue will focus on providing local entertainers with a regular space to perform, as shared by the Portland Press Herald.

This venue is much-needed here in Portland as one of the medium-sized spaces where performers can share their talent with the city. We have incredible places like Portland House of Music and Events and the famous State Theatre, but we have no smaller venues for people to put on a show.

Empire Live is the perfect space, holding 150 people seated and 200 standing. A venue of this size is needed in our city and I can’t wait to see all of the performances and talent that hit the stage.

We have been waiting for this moment; talk around town has been ongoing since Empire Comedy Club closed down, with people wondering if the venue will ever reopen and if it did, what it would be.

The day has come, the venue is open, and Empire Live is born.

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