Our Favorite Independent Film Cinemas

Our Favorite Independent Film Cinemas

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On a date, with a group, or flying solo, catching a movie is a great way to embark on an epic adventure while simultaneously stuffing your face with yummy snacks and drinks. But what happens when the mainstream movie selection just doesn’t cut it? Lucky for you, New York City boasts a pretty amazing indie film scene. This town has everything from art houses, to trendy 35MM cinemas, to old-school theaters built in the 1800’s. When it comes to cinemas, we find that every theater has its own unique atmosphere and style. Below you’ll find a list of some of our favorite spots.

Nitehawk – Best Dinner & Movie

Location Williamsburg 136 Metropolitan Ave   Highlights: Solid app and dinner menu, two full bars   With a full menu including burgers, tacos, and popcorn, Nitehawk is one of our favorite spots to watch a movie and dinner. Although this cinema is known to show independent and foreign films, there’s also a solid variety of mainstream movies. During early afternoons and late nights, Nitehawk offers throwback movies (pictured). The addition of a bar downstairs that serves cocktails, and an upstairs bar that serves beer and wine, make this a great spot for pre-movie boozing. Tickets »

Landmark Sunshine Cinema – Best First Run Art House

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Lower East Side
143 East Houston Street

Best for: Stadium seating, prime destination for first run art films

The Landmark Sunshine Cinema is located in a handsome Yiddish theater dating back to 1909. Thanks to stadium seating in theaters 1, 2, and 3, this fairly new addition to the NYC indie film scene is not nearly as cramped as other theaters, which we love. Sunshine is a prime location for first run art-films, as well as music docs, and various foreign films. Tickets »

Film Forum – Premier location for repertory programming and Indie Premiers

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Location Greenwich Village 209 West Houston Street   Highlights: open 365 days/year, go-to for indie premiers   Among the indie cinema circuit, Film Forum is the only non-profit venue in NYC, showing films on 3 screens, 365 days/year. The cinema is known to showcase complementary film programs, and showcases new indie film premiers regularly. Seating is on the cozy side, so if you’re really tall, please do everyone a favor and sit toward the rear 🙂 Tickets »

BAM Rose Cinemas – Top Theater in Brooklyn

Movie time! #thewitch

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30 Lafayette Ave

Best for: Strong indie offerings in Brooklyn, stadium seating

One of Brooklyn’s best cinematic offering is attached to its best artistic venue. The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s multiplex offers a mix of mainstream, foreign and independent film, and well-curated film series. Tickets »

Film Society – Best Upper West Side Theater

Location Upper West Side 165 West 65th Street   Best for: Great indie/mainstream film mix, home of the New York Film Festival The Film Society of Lincoln Square offers art-house, independent, festival winning films, documentaries, and mainstream films. Among the indie cinema scene, The Film Society has some of the cleanest and most modern interiors in NYC. A word of warning, chances are you won’t have cell service once you enter the theater, which definitely isn’t a bad thing in this setting. Tickets »

Metrograph – Best Classic 35mm Theater

Lower East Side
7 Ludlow St

Best for: Viewing old school 35MM film

Brand new for 2016, and the only independent theater to open in NYC in over a decade, Metrograph plays classics and new indie flicks. The cinema emerged from a food storage facility, and is now equipped with a roof expansion that makes room for a balcony in one of the cinema’s two theaters. Wrapped in an art Deco-ish interior, the cinema contains two bars, a film inspired book shop, and a snack bar. Metrograph is all about showing movies in their original format, so expect to find 35MM showings on the reg. Tickets »

Kew Gardens Cinemas – an Indie Oasis in Queens

Location Queens 81-05 Lefferts Boulevard   Best for: Top-notch indie offerings in Queens Once upon a time, this was a porn theater. Now, this renovated art-house cinema is a beacon of light for indie film lovers in Queens. The cinema is a local favorite thanks to comfy seats, and low priced tickets and concessions. There isn’t any dedicated parking, so if you’re driving your best bet may be the nearby residential streets if you want to avoid the one hour parking meters. Tickets »

Cinema Village – Frequent Film Festival Host

Union Square
22 East 12th St.

Highlights: Frequent film festival host, historic building dates back to the 1890’s

Converted into a theater in the 60’s, Cinema Village is a historic venue that specializes in indie and sleeper films, revivals, film festivals, and Japanese/Hong Kong cinema. During their 11PM shows, the venue sometimes plays mainstream films and openly allows outside food and drinks. Tickets »



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