The Marple venue to open in former Marple Theater and Fat Tony’s space downtown

WICHITA — A new venue is opening in the former Fat Tony’s space at 417 E. Douglas, but it’s not a bar.

“It’s going to be a completely different building than it has in quite some time,” says Kyle Dick.

Dick and Stephen Coldwell are opening the Marple to host national touring acts, which could be musicians or comedians or DJs.

“It’s really no set thing,” Coldwell says. “We just want to have a nice venue – bring back the history of it.”

Dick says he’s heard a lot of history about the building, from old Wild West characters hanging out there to burlesque dancers and even more risque goings-on.

“I don’t know how true all of it is.”

Most people remember it as the Marple Theater. Dick and Coldwell hope to show films there again and perhaps host some Tallgrass Film Festival events.

“We love the space,” Dick says. “It’s kind of been underutilized for a while.”

Coldwell says the approximately 2,500-square-foot space is “amazing.”

“I just fell in love with it,” he says.

Coldwell has worked in the aviation business for the last decade, but he says it makes sense to do the new venture at the downtown building instead.

“It’s more exciting, and I felt more alive doing something like this than being a process mechanic my whole life.”

Dick has a company called Naymlis Entertainment, which books acts separate from the Marple.

The Marple will be available to rent for meetings and parties. It won’t serve food, but special events can have catering.

“We’re … open to all types of events,” Dick says.

Initially, the main focus will be on national touring acts.

Coldwell and Dick want to have all-ages shows, but they also want to be able to serve alcohol.

“That’s another thing we’re trying to get figured out,” Dick says. “I think we have some solutions there.”

Dick says the venue will be open only when acts are there.

“It’s not going to be just a bar.”

The Marple will open in late August if all goes well.

Coldwell acknowledges that may not necessarily be the case.

“That’s crossing my fingers.”