Let’s Go To The Movies

by Nancy Bestor

img_0078On a recent rainy weekend in Portland, Bob, Emily and I spent a late afternoon in one of the Rose City’s many independent movie theaters, enjoying the new Beatles documentary Eight Days a Week. The movie, along with original footage of their complete 1965 Shea Stadium concert, was excellent, but equally outstanding was the fact that Cinema 21, along with many other movie theaters in and around Portland, serves beer that you can take right on in to the movie with you.

I vividly remember the first time Bob and I went to a movie theater that served beer. It was McMenamin’s Kennedy School in Portland. And not only do they serve beer at this former elementary school turned hotel/restaurant/bar/theater, they also serve pizza and offer couch seating. I was flabbergasted, but in a good way. A visit to the Kennedy School is well worth your while, even if you’re not going to a movie. The fabulous redesign of classrooms and such into a multipurpose establishment, complete with a detention bar, warrants a visit.

On another occasion we saw What We Do in the Shadows—a mockumentary about vampires—at the Hollywood Theater, where they’ve put in high narrow “cocktail tables” between each row, that offer the perfect spot to set your beverage and popcorn.

Perhaps it’s the novelty (for me at least, not for most Portlanders), but if beer is on offer when I’m going to the movies, I can’t really NOT get one. I recognize that beer and movies together might not work for every theater. As a theater owner, f you have to limit your clientele to 21 and over, you lose a significant share of the movie going public. But beer, popcorn, and a movie? As an adult with adult children, this is a movement I can get behind.

I’ll See You at the Movies—Preferably in a Classic Theater

by Nancy Bestor

Ever since I can remember, I loved going to the movies. When I was a pre-teen, living in the Bay Area, it was quite a popular summer activity to get a ride to the local theater and see whatever looked good. I have fond memories of waiting in line for the epic films of my youth (don’t judge, they were epic to me), like Grease, Rocky, Ode to Billy Joe (with Robby Benson!) and of course E.T. and Star Wars. Bob and I saw Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield on one of our first dates; I’m pretty sure I asked him, too. My neighborhood movie house was a four theater box of a building, but every now and then, as I got older and more cultured (well, a little more cultured anyway), I’d venture farther afield and see a movie in a classic theater, like Oakland’s Grand Lake Theater.

I love small and quirky movie houses, and the West Coast boasts some great ones. Portland, Oregon, of course, is home to many. The McMenamins Pubs & Breweries  have some of the most unique, where one can drink a beer, eat a piece of pizza and watch a flick all while lazing on a comfy overstuffed couch. The Kennedy School Theater is housed inside the Kennedy School, which until 1975 was a Northeast Portland elementary school. It was refurbished by the McMenamins and reopened in 1997 as a hotel, restaurant, movie house and more (I’m quite fond of the Detentions Bar). Another McMenamins movie spot that I’ve enjoyed is the Bagdad Theater in Portland’s Hawthorne district. The Bagdad opened in 1927, and is perhaps most famous for the 1975 Oregon premiere of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest with special guests Jack Nicholson and producer Michael Douglas.

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