Cheap Movies in Portland

We’ve been enjoying being within walking distance to a cheap movie theater and biking distance to even more.  I was surprised at how many cheap movie houses there are in this city.  It’s always nice to see a movie with a crowd and a number of the theaters sell beer, which is a wonderful concept.  I don’t have a favorite theater yet, but there is one that keeps disappointing me.

The Clinton St Theater is $6 a movie and $4 on Tuesdays, but their schedule has been wrong in the paper and on their website.  I’ve been there 3 times to see a movie and either a.)It started 30 minutes earlier than their website and newspaper said it would or b.) another event was happening instead (a hypnotist and a skate show benefit).  I was disappointed—they should at least have their own website be accurate.

All the other places we went to we didn’t have any problems with, and they were significantly cheaper.

I love the Bagdad Theater.  Owned by the infamous McMennamins brothers (who may just buy the entire Pacific NW one day), this 1927 theater has been revitalized but still has that other-era charm.  It’s a beautiful theater with comfy chairs and some rows have bench-like tables so you have somewhere to put your pizza and beer.  It’s $3 for a movie and sometimes has other events.  Hawthorne neighborhood.

The Laurelhurst Theater has 2 rooms for movies, also $3 second-run style movies.  They sell pizza (no vegan) and great local beer.  The rooms are a good size and there are some bench-tables for your food.  No complaints about the 1923 art deco building, but it doesnt’ have that luxurious feeling like the Bagdad.

The Avalon Theater is nestled in the middle of a nickel arcade and has 2 small rooms for movies.  The seats are a little run-down and there’s no beer, but it’s $2.50 and you can go play DDR and skee-ball afterwards.  Belmont neighborhood.

Another old building that the McMennamins brother bought and turned into a movie house is the Mission Theater. Originally intended for Swedish Evangelicals in the 1890′s, it’s now a great place to have the McMennamin beer and watch a movie.  Who thought churches were boring?  There’s some traditional seats in rows as well as some round tables and chairs.  The balcony is a nice place to watch the $3 movie from.  They also have monthly Science Pub nights, which I have not been to but sound interesting.

There are more movie houses in historic buildings owned by the McMenn’s but the only other one I have visited is the Kennedy School, which is really cool.  It’s an elementary school from 1915 that has classrooms converted into hotel rooms and the teacher’s lounge is a bar.  There’s a swimming pool (only available to guests and OR residents) and a large restaurant with a nice outdoor patio.  The movie room is in the auditorium and instead of boring chairs, it’s an assortment of comfy recliners and couches.  My only gripe is that the restaurant has consistently bad service, but the beer and movies are cheap ($3).  They have other events too, like live bands and cocktail tasting nights.

Leave a Reply