Even the non-drinkers among my readers will appreciate this, and those of you on the East Coast will marvel at the fact that real estate is inexpensive enough to have not one, but several theaters in town that are able to offer cheap movies and beer in various places all around town.
When I lived in St. Johns, I was steps away from two beer theaters, and my favorite one was the St. Johns Cinema. It was literally 34 steps from my apartment door, and the only downside was that they only took cash, so it took a tiny bit of advanced planning (or a great deal of trust in one of those no-name ATMs they offered inside the theater). It’s a twin cinema, and from the 1920s, where one of the screens has balcony seating, and it’s one of the higher priced beer theaters. Movies past 6pm cost $6, and matinees are $4. Throw in pizza and a beer if you so choose and you and your sweetheart can do dinner and a movie for $20.
Now that I live on the other side of town, my new favorite theater is about 90 steps from my apartment (SO FAR by comparison!) and it’s a one screen lovely old theater. It’s called Cinemagic, and it’s also cash only. Hmm, there might be something to that, but that’s not my concern! They also show first run movies, but they show them for a long time, like three weeks, so if you have already seen The Avengers for example, you just have to wait.
Or go to a myriad of other old theaters in town. McMenamins is a local chain that is famous for bad service, mediocre food, and good beer. They should be known for buying old theaters that are on the chopping block, and saving them for the city dwellers. Their movies are second run, and they have enough locations across town that you can find everything from kid movies to action flicks to dorky comedies.
The beer theaters really make Portland unique. In other towns (DC comes to mind) there is one “cinema and draft house” but it is just as expensive as the other theaters, the only difference is the beer. But here? Come for the dingy atmosphere, come for the movies, have dinner, have a drink, and sit back and relax!
For some reason, going out to the movies feels much more like an experience than sitting at home watching your screen. My friends have a new fancy giant TV and a refrigerator that has beer in it and a kitchen with food, and yet, they love getting out of the house and watching whatever movie is playing at the local beer theater.
So, if you find yourself in my fair city, and you decide that you’re too sleepy to be active, or the weather has pushed you inside, check them out. I feel confident in saying you won’t be disappointed.