posted 2011-09-21 14:00:52

Nitehawk Cinema: Screening Out the Competition

Alina Mardirossian

Contributing Writer

The days of over-priced movie tickets and gastronomic displeasures are gone. Established in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Nitehawk Cinema strays from the typical Hollywood films and butter-drenched popcorn, and instead provides the ultimate dinner-and-a-movie experience, along with the option for cocktails. With Nitehawk’s innovative vision for a better, more inexpensive movie-going experience, executive director Matthew Viragh packs hand-picked movies, gourmet food, and creative drinks all under one roof.

“It's much more civilized than having to rush through dinner at a restaurant so you can try to make a movie across town,” explains Viragh.

Enlisting Michelin-starred chef Saul Bolton to create a dynamic and comprehensive gourmet menu sounds pricey, but a quick glance at offerings like ham croquettes ($6), puppy dogs (mini corn dogs; $6), and a huge bowl of Nitehawk-seasoned popcorn ($5), reveals that moviegoers will leave with enough cash in their wallets for a post movie drink. While New York State law does not permit alcoholic beverages within the actual screening rooms, a glass of Nitehawk’s homemade mint lemonade ($4) manages to work as a refreshing replacement.

Viragh rejoices in abandoning the “uninspired” ways people have grown to watch movies. By paying attention to oft-overlooked details, he looks to embrace the “opportunity to improve on that basic experience.”

Moviegoers start with an $11 ticket price, and then move on to the food. Viragh shares, “I enjoy the challenge of creating and coordinating inspired food and drink specials for each movie we show at the Nitehawk.”

A screening like Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris is tied with the “Country Pate” meal, while the “Midnight Maurader”, a rum and ginger beer concoction, was served at one of Nitehawk’s full bars in anticipation of Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest.

At Nitehawk, there is a table between every two seats, which are under-lit by soft lights to make ordering food and drinks effortlessly seamless during screenings. Paper and pencils are set at every table for attendees to write down their order and place it on a spring to be picked up by the waiter. Extra wide aisles give patrons ample room to lounge as employees discreetly deliver orders.

Moviegoers are placed in foodie heaven without a need to miss a second of the flick they paid to watch. Nitehawk delivers with a finesse that makes one question why every movie theater doesn’t follow its dining model.

“I think people appreciate the amount of energy and attention to detail we put into each aspect of the experience.” says Viragh. Yes, people certainly do. Nitehawk Cinema sets the bar high for food and service at movie theaters.