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TOPIC: New Idea

New Idea 30 Nov 2006 13:29 #29207

I need help I am not sure that this a new idea, but I saw a theatre in VA and it served food and the seats were a sit down dining idea. I want to open something like that, but I was hoping someone could let me know about the approriate ceiling height to have a a screen and etc, if I would to desing it with all leveled seats
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Re: New Idea 01 Dec 2006 00:25 #29208

  • Ken Layton
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That's called a "brew pub" type of theater. Nothing new about that---they've been around a while.
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Re: New Idea 01 Dec 2006 14:35 #29209

Do you know where I can locate information on one?
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Re: New Idea 02 Dec 2006 00:56 #29210

  • Ken Layton
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The Pacific Northwest is home to one of the best brew pub theater operators: McMenamin's (www.mcmenamin.com).
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Re: New Idea 02 Dec 2006 06:38 #29211

  • jimor
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Another name for what you saw is 'Dinner Theatre' and the format is quite common around the country. They come in full dinner/luncheon format all the way down to those serving only drinks with sofas and easy chairs as seating.

You could easily design one on just one seating level, but the rub there is the obstruction of the view as servers or patrons go from table to table or elsewhere while one is trying to see the screen. That is why most newer ones are designed on multiple levels, as in Stadium Style, so as to allow someone to pass in front of one, but below his eye level. Dinner Theatres and "brew pubs" are considered to be more about the food than the film, so you may want to gain experience in running a restaurant first, and realize that the local building and health codes for restaurants may have more bearing on your design than codes applying to places of public assembly.

If you search the Archives here, you will come upon John Pytlak's referrences to the SMPTE Standards for projection and links to them. They outline proper screen sizes and ceiling heights for ideal presentation. Further information can be obtained from the Theatre Historical Society of America via their Ex. Director whose address is listed on their site: www.historictheatres.org

The concept is not at all new, with the 1986 book "Milwaukee Movie Palaces" showing a photo of the CRYSTAL dinner theatre circa 1935. Some such offered only live action stage attractions, others also offered film as in the CRYSTAL, long ago demolished. In the Milwaukee area alone these venues offer some variation of what you mean: the FOX BAY, THE MAYFAIR, THE ROSEBUD CINEMA DRAFTHOUSE, THE FIRESIDE, and shortly, THE AVALON. Write-ups on these and many other theatres may be found through Location search at: www.cinematreasures.org
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: New Idea 02 Dec 2006 09:01 #29212

  • theBigE
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One of the most famous brew pubs in the US would be the Alamo Drafthouse. They have a franchise of theaters going in Texas. Browse their site for more info: http://www.drafthouse.com/
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Re: New Idea 04 Dec 2006 08:48 #29213

  • jimor
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Here are two associations that may prove helpful:

NATIONAL DINNER THEATRE ASSOCIATION http://www.ndta.com/

And from the British perspective of Brew Pubs: http://www.geocities.com/pubtheatre/

'Hope these help. Best Wishes, Jim
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: New Idea 04 Dec 2006 12:49 #29214

Thank you very much for all of your replys. I know too often we dont say thank you. I will keep you abreast of my findings
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Re: New Idea 11 Dec 2006 10:21 #29215

We have run an eatery-style cinema
with a single seating level since 1993.

We use different style seating, starting
with floor cushions, stuffed chairs, and
then working up to cafe tables, and high
bar-style tables to make up for the
one level sightline.

Ideally, if you can get a 14' ceiling
height (and unubstructed viewing area),
you can develop a one-level style cinema
in just about any building. The only
issue can be subtitled films, depending
on their placement within the image.

[This message has been edited by screeningroom (edited December 11, 2006).]
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