Movie House Magic

Our Favorite Local Theaters

By Stacey Wilson July 24, 2012 Published in the February 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

We wouldn’t be caught dead in one of those hideous movie megaplexes. Why bother when Portland is brimming with neighborhood theaters that offer comfort, reasonably priced snacks (and sometimes beer), and old Hollywood charm? Here’s a roundup of our favorite cinemas.


11700 SE Seventh St, Vancouver

This Vancouver venue won’t have you thinking twice about crossing the Columbia for a night of cinematic pleasure. At Cinetopia you can take in, say, the latest James Bond adventure in Digital Super HD, while the theater’s restaurant, Vinotopia, serves you a savory lunchtime burger, an elegant salmon dinner, a flight of Oregon pinot, or a smoldering slice of lava cake (with two forks). Between the cuisine, plush extra-wide leather seats, and ample leg room, this theater makes good on its “movie paradise” moniker.

Laurelhurst Theater & Pub

2735 E Burnside St

The $3 admission keeps the joint jumping, but it’s the beer, wine, and gourmet pizza that make this 1920s-era neighborhood theater the best date venue in town. You have to be twenty-one or older to see movies after 3 p.m., so you’re guaranteed a kid-free zone for your special night out. If you don’t mind waiting until November to see last summer’s Batman sequel, or late spring to catch up on Oscar winners, this old-school treasure makes date night cheap in the best possible way.

Living Room Theaters

341 SW 10th Ave

Anyone who fancies himself a film nerd isn’t officially so until he’s spent some quality time inside one of this theater’s six cozy screening rooms. Started by independent filmmakers in 2006, Living Room claims to be the first all-digital theater in the country. It uses the environmentally friendly format (no celluloid waste) to showcase a lineup of lesser-known independent and foreign films from the festival circuit as well as classics like Casablanca and A Clockwork Orange. Order a cocktail from the sleek adjacent bar and you’re set for a stylish night of geeking out.

Regal Fox Tower Stadium 10

846 SW Park Ave

If you must do the multiplex thing, this highbrow theater strikes a perfect balance between the commercial and the obscure. Here you can choose from a diverse lineup that might include the newest Coen brothers masterpiece, the Clint Eastwood–directed film everyone is gabbing about, a lauded thriller from France, and Michael Moore’s newest documentary. With ten screens, around fifty showings per day, and a central downtown location, the Regal Fox Tower offers the perfect respite from a busy day spent working, shopping, or simply strolling through the city.

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