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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

August 25, 2009 at 10:14 AM

Cinebarre, in Mountlake Terrace: I liked; do you?

Last night I finally made it to Cinebarre, the new(ish) moviehouse in Mountlake Terrace where you can have food and drink (as in, burgers/pizza/sandwiches and wine/beer) with your movie. Bottom line: I liked the place and will definitely be back.
Those who remember the old Regal Mountlake 9 know the location, just off the Edmonds/Lake Forest Park exit on I-5. (And, if you occasionally went to screenings there, you know that it’s tricky to reach — if you don’t get into that left-turn lane immediately off the freeway, you’ll screw things up badly and end up in some remote place. Never mind how I know this.) It’s been nicely remodeled in sort of an urban deco theme; lots of gray and black, punctuated with movie posters. There’s a bar with tables in the lobby, and the theaters feature big screens and rows of seats (new and quite comfortable) with counters running in front of each row. To order — which you can do anytime during the movie — you write what you want on a form (menus and pens are provided) and tuck it into the low railing on the front of the counter. Servers will come and collect it; otherwise they won’t bother you if you haven’t indicated that you want something.
There are a few drawbacks to this arrangement: The lights have to be bright enough to allow for menu reading, so the screen picture isn’t quite as crisp as it would be in darkness, and while the servers do their best to be unobtrusive, they do occasionally have to scoot right in front of you with a tray. So I wouldn’t go there if I just wanted to watch the movie. But the food looked very tasty (we’d already eaten — the trip was a spontaneous idea — so didn’t order any) and the drinks were refreshing and nice change of pace from Diet Coke.
All in all, a very pleasantly upscale experience — for much less money than the area’s other food-and-drink first-run movie house, Gold Class Cinema. By comparison: At Cinebarre, two movie tickets, a pint of ale and a glass of Pinot Grigio came to $35, including tip. At Gold Class Cinema in Redmond, the movie tickets alone, on a weekday evening, will be $54 (via their website); drinks and tip (no drinks menu online, so I’m estimating) will likely be another $20. Granted, Gold Class has recliners, a swankier atmosphere and a fancier menu; then again, Cinebarre’s screen — at least the one I saw — was much bigger than the one I saw at a press preview at Gold Class last year. (In Seattle, you can enjoy beer/wine and food at Central Cinema, but I’m not directly comparing it here as it’s a repertory house rather than a first-run movie theater.)
So, have you been to any of these places? Which do you like best? Anyone tried the food at Cinebarre? (A burger-and-fries combo which wafted by me smelled very good.)

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