Best Cheap Brew 'N' View

There used to be something called a second-run movie theater. Always cramped, with screens the size of microwave windows and locations as varied as office-building basements and (during off hours) porno theaters, these fleapits were a boon for buffs who wanted to see Pootie Tang but didn't $10-worth-want-to-see Pootie Tang. Alas, the rise of stadium cinema has dealt a mighty blow to the second-run theater, where sneaking in an adulterated beverage was de rigueur. For a taste of what once was, though, there's always The Big Picture in Belltown, which somehow manages to stay afloat despite showing first-run features for $7. The interior is swank—a colony of throw pillows has taken over the lobby, and a classical-nude statuette rests upon a copy of Phaedon's The Movie Book—but the screening room hews close to the traditional model: tiny, not the greatest sound quality, only eight rows of seats. Wicker ottomans are available for front-row viewers to put their feet up, and white-clad waiters deliver beer and movie-themed cocktails. Corporate meetings and private parties often hold the Big Picture hostage, so moviegoers face a constant risk of bumping into Paul Allen coming out of a toilet stall or walking into a Will Smith post-Willennium CD-release party. But if two words make it worth trying, these are it: no previews.—John Metcalfe 2505 First Ave., 256-0566,

comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow