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Park Slope's Pavilion Movie Theater Wants to Lure Back Customers with Booze

By Leslie Albrecht | August 28, 2012 11:11am

PARK SLOPE — Moviegoers at Park Slope's Pavilion movie theater could soon watch blockbusters with a side order of booze.

The theater wants to start serving alcohol — including Capri Sun-style pouches filled with frozen daiquiris — at evening shows as part of an effort to lure back customers who've abandoned the much-maligned movie house, a spokeswoman told DNAinfo.

Theater spokeswoman Christine Smitz says the Pavilion wants to join the ranks of other theaters who are beefing up their menus with food that's heartier than popcorn and serving beer, wine and hard booze. Williamsburg's Nitehawk Cinema and the Upper West Side's upcoming Alamo Drafthouse are among the New York theaters hopping on the dinner-and-a-movie bandwagon, though the Pavilion doesn't plan to run a full-scale restaurant kitchen as those theaters do, Smitz said.

Community Board 6's public safety committee unanimously approved the Pavilion's liquor license application Monday night, but it won't be final until the State Liquor Authority OKs it.

Smitz said the theater wants to start serving warm finger food like mozzarella sticks and may partner with food trucks where patrons could buy chow before show time. The Pavilion also wants to sell Smirnoff vodka and Parrot Bay rum drinks served frozen in pouches.

The booze and expanded food menu is just one of many upgrades at the theater, Smitz said, which was taken over by new owners a year ago who vowed to improve the Pavilion after years of complaints about sticky floors, grimy seats and a dank interior.

The theater, on Prospect Park West between 14th Street and Bartel-Pritchard Square, has changed hands many time since it opened in 1928, and for the past five years the Pavilion was "on a downward slope," Smitz said.

"The overall goal is to bring customers back," Smitz said. "We've definitely experienced customers who have sworn off the theater because of bad experiences under other owners. If it had continued on the path it was going, it would have closed."

New owner Cinema Holdings Group is putting the finishing touches on a makeover that included replacing the Pavilion's "infamous" seats, installing plush carpeting, improving lighting, revamping a second-floor cafe and repainting the interior in "regal" blue, white and gold, Smitz said.  Owners also want to renovate a loft space with Prospect Park views above the theater's second floor that could be used for private events, Smitz said.

Neighborhood blog F'ed in Park Slope has criticized the attempted improvements, noting in a recent post that one moviegoer spotted trash in a theater — before the show started. Smitz said the Pavilion has recently increased staffing to help keep theaters cleaner, and that it's the Pavilion's policy to have a theater cleared of garbage within 10 minutes of an audience leaving. Bathrooms are cleaned twice every hour, Smitz said.

"Of course there's going to be the occasional something on the floor, that's natural," Smitz said. "But we've upped our ushers and upped our staff in general. All of the ushers carry a schedule that tells them what time a movie is being let out. It's nothing we can say we've perfected, but we've improved," Smitz said.

Smitz acknowledged that some locals are skeptical of the Pavilion's attempts to change its run-down image. The new owners have mounted a social media campaign to spread the word about the makeover, Tweeting updates to curious neighbors and posting photos of renovations on a Tumblr page so critics can monitor the progress, Smitz said.

"We have people who are excited about the changes, but they've heard about changes from a myriad of different owners," Smitz said.