So you got a date lined up but can’t think of what to do? You don’t want to just go to a movie theater because you’ll just end up sitting in the dark, tense and quiet, staring at the screen instead of using the time to get to know each other. But what if you grab drinks before the movie? And even better what if you could bring the cocktail party into the theater?
The Arclight’s 21+ Screenings offers just such a thing on Friday and Saturday evenings (Sundays on holiday weekends). You can purchase your tickets on the Web site but when you get to the theater you have to show proof that you’re 21+.
Arclight holds these special screenings in Theater 8 near the Balcony Bar. You can only bring in alcoholic beverages you purchase from this upstairs bar into the theater, but you can only bring in food you purchase from the downstairs concession stand. So forgo the chicken and black bean chili from the Balcony Bar and get a hot dog from downstairs instead.
We went to see The 40-Year-Old Virgin last night and I had thought it would be packed being a holiday weekend but the show was only “nearly sold out.” The Balcony Bar offers a list of specialty cocktails like Orange Crush and the Godfather at the cost of $9 but I settled on a rum and gingerale ($7.50) and a Newcastle ($6) for good measure. The cocktail was kinda weak and the Newcastle tasted weird in a flat way. We had to tell the bartender we were bringing the drinks into the theater so he could put them in plastic cups since “Arclight is pretty strict about such things.”
Once we got into our seats (front row of the middle section) and the previews started, I began to wonder if getting tipsy in a theater was a good idea as scenes from some new sci-fi movie flashed on the screen. The jump cuts and action scenes made me feel kinda queasy as my slow eyes tried to focus. But fortunately, I think Arclight knows this as, from what I can remember of past screenings, they only pair easy-on-buzzed-eyes movies with their Balcony Bar.
In any case, the alcohol fueled everyone’s laughter as it seemed the audience laughed louder and longer than when I had seen Virgin at a regular screening. I wondered if the theater ever had problems with people getting out-of-control drunk and talking loud and starting fist fights, but the crowd we were in was pretty well-behaved. Maybe it’s because the Arclight is a film buff’s theater and its patrons have pretty good movie theater etiquette to start off with.
But I’d say the Arclight’s 21+ screenings is a fun date thing to do. You get the benefit of both drinks and a movie in one shot. And after your movie you can leave your car in the Arclight garage and walk up to the Cahuenga corridor to Tokio or the Beauty Bar. It’s only about $4.50 to park there compared to driving around Hollywood for an hour looking for street parking or paying $11 to park in a lot.
Come early and browse through the gift shop, grab a bite in the cafe or sip a cocktail at the bar. There’s no need to rush, because Arclight provides reserved seating. And, mind you, these aren’t ordinary seats, rather plush recliners with three extra inches, super-wide armrests and plenty of legroom. Suited ushers guide you to your seat and introduce each screening with a short speech. There’s also gourmet concessions, state-of-the-art sound and $1 parking. All of which is great, but for $14 a ticket, the movie had better be good.
Gotta love the Arclight.
6360 W Sunset Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028
Cross Street: Vine