Last weekend, OHNY Program Coodinator Hae-In went to see Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” at the much anticipated Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The independent movie theater opened recently on June 24.

exterior of Nitehawk Cinema

The theater is unique in that it features a full-service restaurant on the first floor, as well as table-side food service inside the theaters. Designed by Stephen Lynch, of Caliper Studio, the Nitehawk Cinema occupies the first two floors of the converted warehouse, and the top three are apartments. The Williamsburg-based architecture and metal fabrication firm kept the original facade of the two-story yellow brick warehouse but clad the upper levels with a pre-weathered zinc and covered it in a pattern of LED lights, which give the building a very distinct and theatrical look in relation to the other buildings on Metropolitan.

sign at the bar

The restaurant opens up onto the street, with large windows, and there is a steel-paneled staircase to the upstairs lobby, which also doubles as a cafe and bar. The interiors have that “old-timey” Brooklyn aesthetic that is so prevalent in the neighborhood and RePOP, a great Wallabout vintage furnishings firm, also collaborated on the interiors.

bar downstairs

Originally referred to as the Cassandra Cinemas and Metropolitan Cinemas, the theater-residential complex was finally built after stalling in 2008 due to financing. The movie theater is actually the second one in Williamsburg, joined by Indiescreen on Kent Avenue, and a new three-story theater being developed by the Cobble Hill Cinema owner, slated to open later this year.

fish tacos and a movie

Chef Saul Bolton, of Saul and the Vanderbilt in Brooklyn, has created an extensive menu (when was the last time you had fish tacos at a movie theater?), and there is also a special menu of food and drink inspired by the movie being screened. Unfortunately, state law prohibits the alcohol consumption inside the theater, so it works best to get there 30 minutes or so before the show, get a drink or two at the bar downstairs before heading upstairs to get seated and place your food order before the movie begins. There is also paper and pencil at each table to write down your order during the show.

lights on the exterior

Even the pre-show experience is a little different. Instead of standard previews, commercials and silly trivia, they feature shorts by local artists and filmmakers as well as clips (such as an old interview with director Woody Allen) related to the feature. It’s nice to be able to stay in the neighborhood instead of having to go into Manhattan for the movies!

Nitehawk Cinema
136 Metropolitan Ave (between Wythe Ave & Berry St)
Brooklyn, NY 11211

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