The Best Indie Movie Theaters Across the U.S.

November 23, 2017

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Who doesn’t love a night at the movies? As great as a bucket of buttery popcorn and an action flick can be, these indie cinemas across the U.S. are raising the bar on the moviegoing experience.

Atlantic Plumbing Cinema – Washington, D.C.

Atlantic Plumbing Cinema. Image courtesy of the venue.

The HUNT Washington, D.C. writer, Cori Sue Morris, is a sucker for a Friday night movie, and she adores Atlantic Plumbing Cinema, which has an upmarket, adult atmosphere. Housed in the mixed-use Atlantic Plumbing development that includes apartments, dining options and local vendors like Typecase Industries, the theater has retained the industrial aesthetic. Within the cinema, there’s a bar and lounge area near the concession stand that serves booze and food, and it exclusively shows independent films. Plus, it’s located at the nexus between D.C.’s two most buzzing neighborhoods, U Street and Shaw, making it easy to move on to a slinky jazz club or happening watering hole if you don’t want to call it a night after your film.

Davis Theater – Chicago

Davis Theater. Image by Bradley Kirouac.

In a world riddled with 3-D movies, IMAX and buckets of popcorn that cost, well, a bucket, there’s something wistful about a good old-fashioned movie theater. The HUNT Chicago writer, Matt Kirouac, craves the throwback Americana experience of squeaky cushioned seats, a velvet curtain covering the screen, tunnel-like hallways and an egregious amount of Sno Caps. The venerable red brick Davis Theater, whose iconic sign still stands as a beacon in Lincoln Square, satiates that craving and then some. The films shown at this four-screen cinema may be modern, but it’s the perfect outlet to scratch that nostalgia itch. Because there’s nothing better than laughing and crying in a theater that’s nearly a century old. It’s a cinematic ideal, especially when Matt’s tired of 3-D glasses-induced headaches.

New Beverly Cinema – Los Angeles

New Beverly Cinema. Image by Al Pavangkanan

Quentin Tarantino fans will get a major kick out of the New Beverly Cinema, an arthouse cinema in a West Hollywood building dating back to the 1920s that is owned and curated by the auteur himself. The New Beverly screens 35mm film prints of artsy work and cult double features, as well as Tarantino movies during packed midnight showings on Fridays. Want to stop by for something more family-friendly? There’s a Saturday morning matinee series just for you.

O Cinema – Miami

O Cinema. Image by Oscar Soccaros.

Since Margarita Wells, The HUNT Miami writer, started blogging about her hometown, she’s been exposed to more and more of the city’s rare creative types – the kind that went to art and film school and would be better suited for New York or L.A. but decided (thankfully) to keep their talents in Miami. It’s because of two of them, fashion bloggers Angeles Almuna and Jana Carrero, that she first set foot in O Cinema. The independent, single-screen venue shows all genres, from art to foreign to cult classics. Not coincidentally, her first visit was for the screening of a feature starring Angeles and Jana – it’s exactly this support of the homegrown artistic community that makes O Cinema so special.

Seattle Cinerama Theatre – Seattle

Seattle Cinerama Theatre. Image by Jenise Silva.

The HUNT Seattle writer, Jenise Silva, is a huge fan of watching movies, and even though it’s been almost 20 years since the day she heard homegrown hero Paul Allen was stepping in with a multimillion-dollar renovation to save the historic Cinerama, she’s still more than thrilled that he did. Today, this cinema is Seattle’s prime picturehouse, and boasts one of the biggest screens in the city – some films are even shown in 70mm. The lobby is wonderfully ’60s retro and sci-fi fans can find original costumes from Star Wars and Blade Runner on display. There’s also a concession stand with a liquor license: pass the chocolate popcorn and craft cider, please.

Violet Crown Cinema – Austin

Violet Crown Cinema. Image via

Violet Crown Cinema in Austin is a bona fide art house, where you can catch foreign flicks and Cannes winners alike. There are comfy, first-class-flight-like seats and you get score a glass of wine and classy appetizer here to make it a full night out.

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