Big Screens in Small Buildings: Western Connecticut’s Tiny Movie Theaters
I love going to the movies. Yeah, I also love watching on my 50-inch tv, but seeing flicks on a 200-foot silver screen never gets old. Connecticut real estate is stupidly expensive, and there's less and less of it everyday. So, we've adapted.
There are quite a few movie theaters in Western Connecticut that if you weren't REALLY looking for, you'd just drive right on by. Case in point:
A hidden gem that I truly love is Bantam Cinema. It's Connecticut's oldest continuously running movie theater, as it's been open since 1927. Yes, it's an old barn, but you won't find old hay bales inside. You'll find two very small theaters showing the finest art house/independent films of the moment. You'll also occasionally find the stars of these films attending special screenings and answering your questions afterwards.
Watertown's Country Cinema doesn't even have a website, but they do have first-run films a couple of weeks after their wide-release. And, damn, they make good popcorn there. Parking is kind of tough sometimes, but the reduced admission and concession prices are worth it.
Head North to the end of Route 8, take a left, and you'll find the Gilson Cafe-Cinema in Winsted. The beauty of this little beauty is right in the name of the joint, "Cafe-Cinema". This is the first theater that I remember that serves up food and booze as you watch a movie. Your couch may be more comfortable, but you usually can't watch first-run movies there yet. (Unless you're a dirty bootlegger, boo!)
New Milford's Bank Street Theater is absolutely gorgeous. Recalling the glamorous Art Deco stylings of old Hollywood, it's a world-class movie theater right in your backyard. Look for it the next time you see Adam Sandler's Mr. Deeds, they filmed it right out front.
In Newtown, Edmond Town Hall is the go-to for all of my friends that live in Newtown/Sandy Hook/Southbury. Not just a movie theater, this is a true community building that is used for many other events. $3 tickets? Yeah, it's worth it.
In Ridgefield, the Prospector Theater is truly unique. It's a non-profit, and what they do there will warm even the coldest of hearts. The Prospector's mission is to provide meaningful employment to people with disabilities. I'm floored by that. Bravo!
It's very easy to just go to your local megaplex with its 12-20 movie screens, drop $50 for two massive popcorn and sodas, and take in an Imax 3-D movie, but isn't the mantra "spend local"? Do that instead.