Dinner and a movie is a classic double feature that never goes out of style. But why separate the two when you can indulge in delicious food while being immersed in a multisensory film experience? Today, there are more theaters than ever before offering full food and drink menus to indulge in while you watch the latest Hollywood flicks. We’ve rounded up five of the best spots in the country for you to sit back and enjoy the show, one bite at a time.
Foreign Cinema, located in the heart of the Mission District, screens mostly art house and foreign works (think: Anna Karenina and Moonrise Kingdom) in its romantic, covered outdoor courtyard, where guests can nosh on delicious and sustainable cuisine or brunch creations from chefs Gayle Pirie and John Clark. While the menu changes daily, it remains Mediterranean and seafood-centric, with an impressive raw bar offering as well. Recent dishes included seared Pacific tuna with Seville spices, artichokes, blood oranges, potatoes, aioli and Spanish olive relish, lavender-brined heritage pork chop with faro, lollipop kale, frilly mustards, olio nuovo, lemon and shaved Reggiano. After the movie, enjoy drinks and rotating DJs in the spacious bar area, Laszlo.
CinéBistro’s flagship location opened in Miami in 2008 and, before long, six more locations opened throughout the country, including Atlanta, Vail and Richmond. When planning your date night at any of the locations, be sure to arrive 30 minutes prior to showtime to place an order for in-theater dining, or risk the chance of missing out on entrées such as lump blue crabcakes, bone-in pork rib eye and spice grilled lamb chops. CinéBistro also features a bar and lounge area perfect for sipping cocktails, ordering snacks such as yellowfin tuna tacos or Wagyu beef sliders, or conversing over dessert after the show.
The Alamo Drafthouse began in 1997 with a single-screen location in Austin, and now has locations in Texas, Virginia, New York, Colorado, Missouri, Michigan, and, by the fall of 2014, in California. Choose from standard options such as pizzas, burgers and salads or opt from the cinema-themed specials menu. Bring a date to split a bottle of California riesling and baked-to-order chocolate chip cookies (served with a scoop of ice cream, if you wish) or choose from a list of adult milkshakes such as the Maker’s Mark milk punch shake or the crème de menthe- and crème de cacao-laced Grasshopper. Alamo also offers decadent themed dinners, with plates timed specifically to a film. The Julie Delpy- and Ethan Hawke-starred Before Midnight, for example, inspired a four-course Mediterranean menu with Greek wine, while the epic Lord of the Rings Trilogy Feast was a favorite for fans who could handle a staggering 11-hour marathon of food, fountain drinks and films.
Look Cinemas offers several different options for a luxurious night out at the movies. The posh cinematic experience starts before you even enter the building with the convenient valet parking services. After that, stop by Nick & Sam’s Grill dining room to make your dinner selection or elect for tableside service while you enjoy the movie in the Look & Dine auditoriums. Menu items range from steak frites to flatbreads to tiramisu. Opt for The Lofts for more spacious seating, a full bar after 5 p.m. and an impressive marquee of concessions such as sushi and sliders. If neither of those options sound appetizing, stop by the ultra-relaxed Coal Vines Pizza and Wine Bar for a pie or some pasta after your show.
Nitehawk Cinema (Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
Williamsburg’s retro-chic Nitehawk Cinema serves everything from Korean fried chicken to cheese and charcuterie plates. And that’s on top of a blockbuster lineup of liquid offerings such as local beer and cinematic cocktails thanks to a partnership with breweries, guest chefs and more. Nitehawk also hosts a handful of signature series events, such as the monthly Country Brunchin’, where Southern classics such as chicken fried steak are served to the tunes of a live country band and followed by a classic western movie. The Film Feasts series features multicourse meals inspired by the work with which they’re paired — a past example was a classic five-course French menu presented by chef Sarah Nguyen (Top Chef season 3) for an Amélie viewing; an upcoming sponsorship is with Tequila Ocho for the May 21 screening of the 2001 Spanish film Y Tu Mamá También.
Photos Courtesy of Nick Simonite and Cory Ryan