815 N. Second St., Phoenix
Most Valley movie theaters show the same Hollywood drivel. This outside-the-box Downtown theater is different. Since opening last February, FilmBar has provided movie buffs with a place to kick back and enjoy an independent, foreign or documentary film while enjoying one of 30 craft beers and 15 wines from the Middle Eastern-themed lobby bar. Chill out and have a snack before settling into the cozy 70-seat theater. Purchase tickets ($5-7) at the bar.
15257 N. Scottsdale Rd.,
At iPic, movie-watching is not your typical cattle-drive. The 42,000 square-foot facility is all about plush seating, fancy cocktails and luxury. Start off with a martini at the theater’s embedded bar-lounge, Salt, or nosh on a turkey and brie panini before the show at the adjacent Mediterranean-themed bistro Tanzy. Ticket prices are a bit elevated ($14-$17.50), but where else can you watch the new Sherlock Holmes while sipping on a Manhattan?
AMC Esplanade 14
2515 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix
AMC’s revamped Dine-In concept at the Esplanade offers many different options for food, drinks and seating. The 14-screen theater now boasts nine “Fork & Screen” auditoriums that offer upgraded seating and casual dining. The 18-and-older screen is family-friendly as long as the child is accompanied by an adult. And the Esplanade now has five upgraded “Cinema Suites” that boast premium recliners, an extensive menu and a no-kids-allowed rule. Pizza and beer can be delivered with the push of a button. Tickets range from $6-$15.
9090 E. Indian Bend Rd.,
480-302-6055 (guest service)
Several theaters around the Valley now offer the dinner-and-movie option, but UltraStar alone offers D-BOX Motion seating, which places the viewer in a mechanized seat for enhanced visceral stimulation (great for action flicks, not so great for Merchant-Ivory dramas). Five screens are designated for the 21-and-over crowd. Enjoy a glass of sauvignon blanc or a Four Peaks Kiltlifter with your flatbread sandwich. They also have a George Clooney Panini. Delicious. Tickets range from $5.75-$20.75.
Studio Movie Grill
15515 N. Hayden Rd.,
The latest dine-in movie concept comes to Scottsdale all the way from Dallas. Studio Movie Grill’s nine-screen theater – which opened last November at the old United Artists Sonora Village – endeavors to make the viewer feel at home. It offers leather recliners and more than 100 food and beverage options ranging from healthy salads to bar-style comfort food. The price-point is more family-friendly than some of the high-toned competition: Tickets start at $5 and top out at $9.75, and most items on the food menu are under $10.
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