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The New Parkway Theater

A dressed down take on the old dinner-and-a-movie

In an era of antiseptic multiplexes charging $18 for 3-D IMAX screenings, Moses Ceaser is bringing a distinctly laid-back attitude to moviegoing with the New Parkway Theater (474 24th St., near Telegraph Ave., Oakland, 510-658-7900), a second-run cinema opening in Oakland's Uptown district on November 30. The former nonprofit director (above right) aims to recreate the quirky, slightly grimy community vibe of the beloved old Parkway Theater, which shuttered is Park Boulevard location in 2009, only with cleaner bathrooms, a sunnier staff, and tastier concessions. "Instead of sitting in an over-air-conditioned AMC theater, you're lounging on love seats with pizza and beer," Ceaser says. "There's nothing corporate about it." Case in point: All movies are $6, and Wednesday admission is two-for-one.

After Ceaser signed the lease on a '70s-era former glass factory, Carrie Shores and Joshua Larson of Larson Shores Architects (above left) and Travis Wirt of Black Creek Builders (center) teamed up to transform the graffiti-splashed shell into a two-screen, 10,000-square-foot theater and cafe in just six months. The dual screening rooms offer distinct movie-watching experiences: one, a bi-level cabaret-style space; the other, a couch-strewn arena decked with mismatched mid-centery finds from the Alameda Point Antiques Faire. Like its predecessor, the cafe focuses on diner fare—pizza, grilled cheese, soups, and salads but introduces welcome tweaks like farmers' market produce and local wine and beer. Fittingly, the film lineup skews toward a burger-and-a-brew-complementing crowd-pleasers like The Big Lebowski and The Princess Bride.

 

Originally published in the December 2012 issue of San Francisco.

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