Dining With Denise Neil

Historic theater turned cocktail lounge opens this weekend in Wichita

The historic Marple Theater space will reopen this weekend as an upscale cocktail lounge called Vorshay’s.
The historic Marple Theater space will reopen this weekend as an upscale cocktail lounge called Vorshay’s. The Wichita Eagle

Back in the early 1900s, the grand new Marple “moving picture theatre” opened at 417 E. Douglas.

The building has held many different businesses since, but it’s always retained its towering ceilings, its balcony and its outdoor marquee.

This weekend, the building — which has been vacant since Fat Tony’s closed in early 2014 — will open with a new business inside: an upscale cocktail lounge.

Vorshay’s Cocktail Lounge is owned by Steve and Natalie Peters, who wanted to open the type of cocktail lounge they liked hanging out in when they lived in Dallas. When customers walk in, they’ll find dim lighting, flickering light fixtures, velvet couches and chairs, and a new 30-foot bar serving more than 20 signature cocktails.

“It turned out exactly how we wanted it to,” Natalie Peters said. “We’re excited for people to see it.”

Vorshay’s will be open from 3 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Thursdays and from 3 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. It’ll have live jazz and blues music on weekends, starting on opening weekend. On Friday, Sandi Barrese and Randy Fields will perform starting at 6:30 p.m., and on Saturday, The George Sanders Band will perform starting at 9:30 p.m.

The new bar will serve food, though not until it’s been open for a couple of weeks. When food service starts, Natalie said, Vorshay’s will serve a lunch menu featuring salads and sandwiches as well as evening “small bites” like nuts, olives and fruit fondue.

Happy hour will be from 4 to 7 p.m. daily, and Vorshay’s also will have a gated, covered, Douglas-facing patio. The theater’s former balcony also is full of seating, and Natalie said she envisions people getting together to play games upstairs.

The Peters also are planning to add morning coffee service and to put on “blues and barbecue” Sundays.

Steve Peters was once a partner in Blarney Stone at 2120 N. Woodlawn, which closed in 2017. He said he borrowed the name for the bar from the 1998 movie “Rounders,” which included references to a poker club called Vorshay’s.

For more information, call 316-265-9606.

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