Today's Chowhound post about movie theater food got me thinking about why so many other cities have cool independent theater venues that serve full meals and microbrews to boot. The Chowhound poster described a theater in Maitland, Florida with sandwiches, pasta, dessert, beer and couches... There's also the Alamo Drafthouse chain in Texas, McMenamin's in Portland, and no doubt numerous others. What is it about L.A. that is so inhospitable to moviehouses serving real food and drink?
I recently went to the new Landmark at the Westside Pavilion; despite an amazing array of gourmet chocolate bars and some cursory parmesan-garlic sprinkle for the popcorn, the selection of real food amounted to warmed-over "Pizza Rustica" and hotdogs. Like at the Arclight, beer and wine are only available in certain theaters at certain times and no kids at all are allowed in those theaters...so so tedious. I know about Cinespace, but their programming is pretty much whatever came out on DVD this month...it just doesn't excite me (especially "Georgia Rule"!) If you're going to show old films, at least choose classics like "L'Avventura" and combine them with good food and a romantic patio like at San Francisco's Foreign Cinema.
So what's the problem? Real estate prices? Lack of interest in beer? Too many entertainment options? Restrictive alcohol laws? L.A., get it together, and get us some good food in the theaters.