Where to Watch: Funky Cinemas in NYC, London, Chicago


Ah, a night at the movies: simple and essential–and somehow, in need of a shot in the arm. Skip the overpriced, crowded commercial theaters and indulge in a more memorable filmgoing experience…one that will give the same sense of funthat the movies used to give you as a kid. With a unique take on drive-ins in London, a BYOB film fest in New York, and beers paired with second-run feature movies in Chicago, Friday night just became a little more interesting.

Dinner, a movie…and brews: reRun Gastropub and Theater in DUMBO, Brooklyn


1. BYOB Film Festival at Grand Opening, Lower East Side. Once the home of a pseudo drive-in movie theater and a movie wedding chapel, this space makes its latest evolution as a simple venue showcasing the Lower East Side Film Festival. Don’t be fooled, however: you can bring your own booze…and even bring Fido, if you’d like. $10 per ticket. Space is limited. Festival runs from March 6-20; purchase tickets online.

2. Brews, good food, and independent films at reRun Gastropub, DUMBO, Brooklyn. Once an industrial space (much like the rest of this revived, arts-centric neighborhood right under the two bridges), reRun, part of reBar Gastropub, showcases selections from Sundance Film Festival and, coming up, a film featured in SXSW. You’ll sit in reclaimed minivan seats–this theater is kitsch, all the way–enjoy gussied-up movie food (steak or duck confit sausages, anyone? How about herb brown butter popcorn?), fresh pastries from reBar’s kitchen, and, of course, beers and drinks from the bar’s extensive menu. $7 per ticket, food runs from $4-$6. Purchase tickets online.


1. Weekend Film Club at Soho Hotel, Covent Garden Hotel, and Charlotte Street Hotel. Open to these hotels’ guests and the general public, films debuted over the past year are screened on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30 (Covent Garden Hotel plays host on Saturdays; Soho Hotel and Charlotte Street Hotel on Sundays). £35 buys either lunch, afternoon tea, or dinner at the host hotel’s restaurant/bar, along with admission to the movie. This weekend, Leonardo DiCaprio’s makeup-and-latex-faced turn as the FBI’s architect in J. Edgar is on; next week, see George Clooney’s acclaimed film The Descendants. Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30; book online.

2. Starlite Urban Drive-In at Old Truman Brewery, East End. Ok, so it’s not a real drive-in, but with petrol prices and the inevitable annoyance of driving and parking in a congested city, no one wants the hassle, anyway. At this drive-in, located in fashionably edgy Old Truman Brewery, you get the closest approximation to what it would have been like as an American teenager in the 1950s: you reserve one of the theater’s parked cars (think of it as booking up a table) for two people, enjoy a movie whilst the sound streams into the car’s sound system, and get served by hosts on roller skates. Book online.


1. Midnight Movies at Music Box Theatre. Known for showing independent and foreign films, this 1920s-era venue’s gilded, ornate interior nicely contrasts with its edgier film selections. With their Midnight Movies series, Music Box Theatre features favorites from past years: this weekend, don’t miss Fight Club, while other classics such as Rocky Horror Picture Show and the 1970s hit Coffy are scheduled to show. So go ahead: book a later dinner reservation…the movie’s not on till later in the evening. Purchase tickets at box office; general admission is $9. More information online.

2. $5 Double/Triple Features at The Brew & View. That’s right: crack open a cold one while two or three second-run features (movie that came out in the past year) are on. Order food and drinks to be delivered to your seat, or visit one of the three bars in the theater while you’re in between movies. Purchase tickets at box office; general admission is $5. More information online.

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