Where to Drink at the Movies

A local venue guide.

Posh seats at iPic.

Posh seats at iPic.

The Big Picture This comfy basement space beneath El Gaucho, with plush seating and several lounge areas, generally books first-run movies on its single screen, projected digitally. Showtimes may vary, since the Big Picture is also a party-rental space—and a good one, for a mob of like-minded movie lovers. Finger food and catering are available along with the full bar. Tickets: $7–$11. (21 and over.) 2505 First Ave., 256-0566, thebigpicture.net

The Big Picture Redmond The Belltown location’s Eastside cousin features slightly higher ticket prices ($10–$15) but the same welcoming atmosphere. It’s deservedly popular for married couples on date nights. Special holiday screenings for Valentine’s Day and other occasions are fairly common. The venue can also be rented. (21 and over.) 7411 166th Ave. N.E., 425-556-0565, thebigpicture.net

Central Cinema Repertory fare, TV shows, and oddball sing-along nights are the rule here, with a bar area in the lobby and table service inside the cinema. Very much a neighborhood joint, owned by Kevin and Katie Spitzer, the Central Cinema is currently getting an assist in the state legislature with a bill to permit beer and wine to be served in an all-ages single-screen venue—as it does now. However, the Liquor Control Board only recently discovered this fact . . . after seven years of operation! The menu ranges from burgers ($9.50) to mac ‘n’ cheese ($6). And yes, you can still enjoy a beer while taking your kid to (this week) Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Tickets are generally $6–$8. 1411 21st Ave., 686-6684, central-cinema.com

Cinebarre Way up yonder in Mountlake Terrace, this multiplex has its own dedicated parking lot, a full bar in the large lobby, and table service at its eight screens. Cinebarre serves paper-napkin cuisine from a cutesy menu (Blue Velvet Burger, Mystic Pizza, Fight Club chicken sandwich, etc.), with an affordable, casual vibe. Food prices top out at $12.50, and a pitcher of Blue Moon costs $18. You eat off a counter, as at Central Cinema, and won’t feel bad about dropping a few fries on the floor. Tickets: $12. (21 and over.) 6009 S.W. 244th St., 425-672-7501, cinebarre.com

iPic Theaters The most expensive place to drink or eat while gazing at the screen, this converted Redmond multiplex features seven screens, luxe decor, and large seats situated surprisingly far apart. (Agoraphobics, stay away; cuddling is also difficult.) The lobby bar looks like a chichi European hotel, with a fireplace and leather sofas. Unlike Cinebarre, where you just wander into the theater, here you’re escorted by a hostess and assigned a server. It’s a bit like boarding a first-class flight, with prices to suit: Tickets run $15–$25, depending on whether you want a reclining seat, and menu items range from Portobello sliders ($14) to battered calamari ($13). A pint of Mac & Jack’s is $8.50; specialty cocktails include the $12 wild-blackberry mojito. (21 and over.) 16451 N.E. 74th St., 425-636-5601, ipictheaters.com

Northwest Film Forum NWFF finally added beer and wine last year, meaning you can drink in the lobby before (or after) enjoying art-house movies on its two small screens. Northwest wine and beer selections change frequently on the chalkboard. Last week’s list included a Dick’s Winter Ale ($4.25) and Gavin Pinot Noir ($5.50). Also note the happy hour every Thursday from 5–6:30 p.m., perfect for this week’s screenings of Nicholas Ray films. For finger food, there’s popcorn and candy. Tickets: $6–$9. 1515 12th Ave., 329-1193, nwfilmforum.org


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