Brewvies serving up a 'different movie experience' for 21 and older crowd

Thursday , June 21, 2018 - 5:00 AM

OGDEN — Catching dinner, drinks and a movie is a little easier in downtown Ogden now that a new theater with a bar in it is up and running. 

Brewvies Cinema Pub has been open since the end of May, though the theater waited to hold its grand opening until June 15. It’s open daily from noon to midnight with a bar and three theaters that have digital projectors and sound in operation. A fourth theater will be used to screen outdoor and environmental-themed movies or for special events.

Tickets are $7 for a matinee and $9 for a regular showing. Brewvies also accepts MoviePass

”We’re excited to be in Ogden,” said Wayne Shipley, the Ogden Brewvies general manager. “It’s a young and vibrant town. It fits our market perfectly.”

RELATED: Brewvies Cinema Pub to open theater in downtown Ogden 

The original Brewvies is located in Salt Lake City and has had expansion in mind for a while, Shipley said. But the infamous “Deadpool” lawsuit put those plans on hold. In 2016, the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control filed a complaint against the theater after agents attended a screening and found that alcohol was being served during the superhero film, which contains scenes of simulated sex.

The lawsuit gained national attention and, in 2017, the U.S. District Court issued a ruling in Brewvies’ favor on First Amendment grounds. “Deadpool” star Ryan Reynolds donated $5,000 to the legal fund and now has a drink named after him on the menu — the “Rye N’ Reynoldz.”

Story continues below gallery.

While Brewvies is looking to expand within the Salt Lake City area as well, Shipley said Ogden was at the top of the list because of the theater available at 2293 Grant Ave.

“Theaters are interesting to construct and cost a lot of money. So if you can find an existing theater and repurpose it to your needs, it works out good,” he said.

Two other dine-in theaters made the downtown Ogden location home. MovieGrille was open for several years before closing in 2016 and briefly re-opening as Red Carpet Cinema in 2017. Shipley, who has worked for Brewvies for 10 years, said the dynamic nature of the business model can make it difficult to operate successfully. 

“It’s not a movie theater, and it’s not a bar/restaurant. It’s both,” Shipley said. “And unless you’ve done that for dozens of years, you’re going to be hit with challenges you can’t think of.”

Unlike the previous two theaters, Brewvies only serves customers 21 and older. That, Shipley says, prevents “99 percent of alcohol issues” at the door. 

The age of the customer base also impacts Brewvies’ movie selection. R-rated comedies and dramas do particularly well, he said. 

“I take my kids to the movies all the time but if I want to come with my wife and have a drink, I would come here,” he said.

Brewvies has 12 beers on tap, plenty of bottled beers, wine, and a large liquor selection. It also has a full kitchen, which serves up pizza, burgers, salads and other “bar bites” that are easy to eat in the dark, Shipley said. 

Food and drinks can be ordered at the concession stand, and customers will be given a pager that will buzz when it’s ready to be picked up. Customers can either eat in the theater or come early and dine in the bar area. 

“If you’re meeting a group of people here, you can kind of gather together and all go into the theater together,” Shipley said. “That’s what happened last night. The bar was probably full an hour before the showing.” 

After they’re ordered, drinks will be hand delivered to a customer’s seat. Traditional theater fare like popcorn, candy, and a Coke will also be available for purchase. 

The Ogden Brewvies also has stadium seating and leather seats, each with its own table — a big difference from the Salt Lake location, which some original patrons have noted on social media. 

But the Ogden location is keeping many of the original’s traditions, including the free Film Buff Series on Monday nights. Free showings of older movies will be held at 10 p.m. each Monday with drink and food specials. This week, Brewvies showed the original “Jurassic Park” film, which was selected by patrons on the theater’s Facebook page. 

“Everyone owns a copy or has seen (“Jurassic Park”) ... but when’s the last time you saw it with 60 other people who enjoyed it?” Shipley said. “It becomes more of a social event than Netflix binge-watching.” 

While the free film nights encourage a different, more social crowd to come out, Shipley said most nights customers won’t notice a difference from a standard movie crowd on regular days. 

“It’s a different movie experience. I think this is the way the movie industry is going, with smaller, more intimate theaters and a better experience,” he said. 

Reach digital producer Jessica Kokesh at 801-625-4229 or jkokesh@standard.net. You can also follow her on Twitter at @JessicaKokesh or Facebook.com/ByJessKokesh.

Sign up for e-mail news updates.

×