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June 16, 2011 / Arlington Unwrapped

The Best Spot for Dinner and a Movie in Arlington

  • Looking for somewhere different to take a date?
  • Would you prefer to wait a month or two to see a movie if you could avoid $10 tickets?
  • Wish “dinner and a movie” really meant eating dinner *while* you watched a movie?

Then the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse is for you! For over 25 years, this local favorite, located at the corner of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive in South Arlington, has proudly stood as an alternative to pricey chain movie theaters. 

Converted from the “Old Arlington”, a 1930s Art Deco Theater, the Cinema & Drafthouse is a full-service restaurant and bar as well as a “sub-run movie theater” – meaning they play movies after their initial release but prior to release on DVD or on-demand. Tickets are still a reasonable $5.50 (and on Monday’s they are only a dollar!). The seats are comfortable and there’s terrific table-side service – it’s hard to believe how well the servers maneuver in the dark!

Photo Property of Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse

The Drafthouse usually doesn’t know their movie schedule very far in advance, so its best to sign up for their email newsletter or just occasionally check their website. They also host special sporting event watching, well-known comedians, annual Lord of the Rings Marathons, and have even instituted viewing parties of favorite cult television shows (Arrested Development, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Freaks and Geeks, etc…). The Drafthouse recently added a dining area and lounge outside the theater (the Old Arlington Grill after the original theater), which is a great place to grab a bite or beverage before or after a show.   And the ongoing revitalization of Columbia Pike means there are other dining and entertainment options within walking distance (including Lost Dog South and the new Irish pub P Brennans}.

The theater is easy to access from the Columbia Pike bus route, and parking is available on nearby streets, as well as in the private parking lot behind the McDonalds or the metered garage parking at the Halstead Apartments across Columbia Pike from the Drafthouse.

It’s 21 or older after 9 pm, before 9pm the under-21 set can get in as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Drafthouse itself is relatively family friendly, and mid-day on weekends the movies are typically related G or PG

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