Friday, January 4, 2013

film, food, and fun at The New Parkway

After too many delays to count, The New Parkway theater is finally open, and it's a blast. Whether you're a fan of the original, or just wondering what all the hubbub is about, you should definitely check it out.

J. Moses Ceasar tried very hard to open the theater in the original location on Park Boulevard, but the landlords were unwilling to do the work needed on the building. He tried for way longer than most people would have, but finally decided to look for an alternative location. He found that in a space in Uptown in the heart of the Art Murmur community.

Although it's in a new space in a new location, The New Parkway has done a great job keeping the best of the feel of the original Parkway. There are two theaters, each with a balcony, and both are loaded with comfy chairs, loveseats and tables. As with the original, they feature quirky, non-first run movies like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Big Lebowski, and Barbarella. On Sundays during the football season, they also show NFL games featuring the Raiders or the 49ers.

Like the original, it's not just movies, it's food and drinks, too. (As a Kickstarter reward, we got an extremely tasty pizza and a pitcher of beer.) After you order and pay, you're given a small key card which you insert into a machine at your seat. That allows the server to find you in the right theater. They've got an extensive menu, with starters like fries, quesadillas or soup; and pizzas, burgers (including a vegi option), or mac & cheese for more substantial options. The drinks range from Italian soda to hot cocoa to a nice selection of beers on tap. The pizza was very good, and I'm looking forward to trying some of the other choices. That the food is good is no surprise, as Ceasar spent some of the time waiting by having dining parties taste possible food options and help shape the menu. They source food locally, and don't serve anything with palm oil or high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

The theaters are spartan but comfortable, and perfect for finding your own little spot, whether you want a comfy chair or loveseat, or you you want to sit at a hardback chair at a table. The lobby is nicely decorated, with living walls, custom art tables designed by folks at Creative Growth, old diner and theater seats, and other old film memorabilia. Besides the living walls, there are other green features, like waterless urinals in the men's room and a balcony railing made from repurposed wine barrel bands.

The night we were there we saw Beasts of the Southern Wild with a fair-sized crowd. As we left, a large crowd was gathering for a showing of Serenity and I saw tweets freom several people I know that were somewhere in the crowd. I also stopped in on Sunday to check out the Raiders game on the really big screen, and there was a good turnout. Whether you go for a quirky movie ($6) or to watch football ($5 worth of food/drink), it's a fun spot in Uptown with good food.

Note: The New Parkway will be open during tonight's Art Murmur, featuring a collection of short films from 6-9pm. After that they'll be showing their current movie features.

More pictures from The New Parkway:

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