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Date night at Brookhaven’s CinéBistro

cinebistro

My wife and I recently went on a date night over at Town Brookhaven’s CinéBistro. “Quel est ce CinéBistro?” you ask? It’s a full service movie-watching experience where participants (restricted to ages 21 and over) can order complete meals and adult beverages right at their seats.

First, you make movie reservations online for the desired date and time. Then print out your tickets, or elect to have mobile tickets texted right to your phone. When you get to the theater in Town Brookhaven, find parking or use the valet service right outside its front doors. (It came in handy the night I went because of rain.)

Once you walk inside, you present the front desk your tickets and then you can make your way into the theater lobby. This lobby looks and feels like a lounge due to dim mood lighting, a fully stocked bar and cocktail/snack service.

CinéBistro requests that you show up 30 minutes prior to showtime, so waitstaff can take your food and drink orders and deliver them to you before the movie begins. Menus sit in each chair, and you will have a few minutes to mull it over before you are approached for your order. Ordering and payment is processed via handheld devices (a flat 17% gratuity is added), and transmits electronically to the kitchen. Around ten minutes later, a server delivers your food and drinks directly to your seat.

All of the seats contain fold out tables that your food and beverages are plopped on. If you finish your dinner before the movie starts, throw your napkin on top of your plate and someone will come by and bus your mini-table. If you and your partner want to split a bottle of Champagne or white wine, an ice bucket inclusive with its own stand will be outfitted between you all. Pitchers of beer can also be purchased and come with plastic ice contraptions floating in them, so your beer stays cold but does not get watered down. Once your movie begins the chairside service ends. If you want another drink or more snacks you will have to go to the lounge/concession area.

So how was my food? Basic and almost room service-like, but it achieved its purpose. I did have issues with an $11 appetizer called “popcorn” chicken, rock shrimp and calamari. I failed to notice that this appetizer actually contained popcorn and wasn’t referring to the fried niblet-style of the other ingredients. Most of this small serving is filled with popcorn and just topped with a few bites of everything else. It certainly wasn’t worth its price tag, but then again nor are $5 boxes of candy in regular movie theaters.

Overall, my wife and I had a good time. Other than the lackluster appetizer, the only other drawback was some women two rows behind us who couldn’t contain her enthusiasm throughout the movie (couldn’t handle her Cabernet).

So after tickets, valet and our full meals, I believe I shelled out something slightly north of $70. Not bad considering I have had more expensive date nights that just involved dinner.

Have you been to CinéBistro or something similar? What do you think about this dinner at a movie concept?

by Gene Lee, Food and More blog

19 comments Add your comment

A. Teesman

January 25th, 2012
7:44 am

There was such a place in Buckhead in the ’80s, though with 80s technology and a probably more bar food menu. Also something similar in Panama City, Fla. when I worked there. They were OK, but not something that made me want to return again and again.

B. Holton

January 25th, 2012
7:55 am

This place is only 2 miles from my house, and I’ve been twice since they opened up. While I love the concept (especially the age limit) and enjoyed the experience, I do have a few quibbles with the execution of it.

Both times we were seated and received our menu…and were given about 90 seconds to look it over before being asked to make our selection. I understand that they need to get the order placed in time to serve us before the movie starts, but being unintentionally rushed kind of takes away from the pleasure of the movie/dining experience.

Also, if you don’t finish your meal by the time the movie starts, your plates tend to sit there for a long time, and you have to work around them if you need to go to the restroom.

My suggestion would be to allow patrons to order and pay for their meal on the web site when you purchase your tickets. That way, you don’t feel rushed to make your selection when you arrive. I really hope this place succeeds in Brookhaven. It’s a “next level” experience for going to the movies, even if you decide not to eat there.

Amy

January 25th, 2012
9:20 am

My friends and I pretty much only go to movies at the Movie Tavern by Northlake. It’s definitely a more low-key, less fancy concept, but the food is actually pretty decent (it’s better than a lot of bar food I’ve had) and they serve beer and wine. On top of that, ticket prices are cheaper than any movie theater around– it’s still around $7.50 for a weekend nighttime showing! Love it.

Reds

January 25th, 2012
9:22 am

I’ve been to the one on Holcomb Bridge, Studio Movie Grill. I like it, but they do allow kids there, which can be a drawback. I’m not really sure that I would be fully sold on seeing a brand new movie that I wanted to pay a lot of attention to there. There are too many distractions. They allow ordering during the movie at that one. But I like the bar idea. :)

NoPickle

January 25th, 2012
9:29 am

I don’t care for the idea. I’d rather eat somewhere else first, then just go and sit and enjoy the movie with or without popcorn. I’d rather be in a theater with kids than with drunks, too. Not sure if this is a problem, but the sound of other people eating, and the utensils on the plates, etc. would be a turn off as well.

Nice weather we're having!

January 25th, 2012
9:46 am

Studio Movie Grill is a hop, skip and jump from where I dwell, but I haven’t had any interest in patronizing the place. The parking lot is usually full, so they’re doing something right. It’s just not my thing. Like others have stated, if I want bar food, I will go to Taco Mac and then out to a traditional movie theater later.

jack trent

January 25th, 2012
10:14 am

i thought gene only covers ethnic international beat. this looks like something jenny turkett should be covering

mike

January 25th, 2012
10:17 am

I went here a few months back and I enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. It was very nice and clean. I will be back.

Ramona Clef

January 25th, 2012
2:43 pm

To each her own but it is not appealing to me. I like to attend an early screening of a film and then go out to dinner where we can talk about the movie over our meal. When I want to watch and eat simultaneously, I find I can make that happen pretty well in my living room.

david c

January 25th, 2012
4:02 pm

If I want to have dinner and a movie, I’ll stay home.

Edward

January 25th, 2012
6:31 pm

AMC’s Fork & Screen at Tower Place in Buckhead has been doing this for years. The menu is similar to Chili’s or Applebees, perhaps, with comparable prices to those places. Full bar, and the popcorn is $7.75 but you get free refills. Kids are allowed but must be accompanied by an adult.

PJ

January 25th, 2012
9:51 pm

We love Studio Movie Grill. Having younger children, asking them to sit still & quiet through a movie then dinner is not likely to happen, so eating at the movies makes sense for us. The food is pretty good bar food & there are almost always Groupons or Facebook coupons for family movies $5 including a soda or other movies $6.25 including a soda. Knowing the soda-only cost at other movie theaters, this is a great deal. I like that service continues at the seats during the movie – sometimes we need soda refills, sometimes we need extra sauce or another beer. There are rules about kids & some movies at certain times (not sure why one would have their child in an R-rated movie though there is signage telling you not to after 6). Always plenty of family-friendly flicks – makes sense for its location. We can do movie & dinner for our family for 4 for around $60 with the coupons.

John Sexton

January 26th, 2012
6:15 am

We went for the first time and enjoyed the experience. We did eat before, but purchased wine to drink during the movie. The seats are really comfortable and the service was very good.

bbqbudha

January 26th, 2012
1:26 pm

I like to go to the Starlight Drive in and have some BBQ in my Pickup Truck…

WhoAnnointedYouTheBoss

January 26th, 2012
2:29 pm

@jack trent

Really? You really need those roles to be defined so explicitly? God forbid they should ever branch out and write something on a topic other than what you thought they were supposed to write about. Sheesh.

Sharon

January 27th, 2012
9:50 am

We have been four or five times and really like it. The food is a lot better than at Studio Movie Grill, where I ate only half of the burger because of poor quality, although it’s a fun place to take kids. The burgers at Cinebistro are very good, as are both the shoestring fries and the sweet potato fries. Pork loin very good, crab cakes good. One 10 oz. glass of wine lasts the whole movie, plus they always bring iced water. The tables do not fold but swing out of the way if you ant to get out, and there are cup holders in the chair arms. Seats are reservable online when the tickets are purchased, so no rushed feeling to get to your favorite.

elmack

January 27th, 2012
3:19 pm

I tried this place. I spent $85 for movie and dinner for two. No thanks. I’ll stick to AMC.

Austin Powers

January 27th, 2012
3:25 pm

There is only one place to do this kind of thing. Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Tx. everything else sucks.

Brazen Unicorn

January 27th, 2012
5:28 pm

Movie Tavern is more low-key and casual in terms of the food. My hub and I love it. It’s the first place we check for movie times. The prices for tickets and food are very reasonable.