Row House brings cinema and brew to the Burgh

by: Sam Fatula | a&e editor

Row House Cinema, which recently opened in Lawrenceville this summer, shows popular classic films on the big screen. The 83 seat theater also sells locally owned breweries on draft and in bottles.

Row House Cinema, which recently opened in Lawrenceville this summer, shows popular classic films on the big screen. The 83 seat theater also sells locally owned breweries on draft and in bottles.

Within the current society of Millennials that stereotypically “take everything for granted,” simplicity is underrated. The aforementioned generation can naysay this statement all they want, but when the reluctance to use smartphones defines vintage or counterculture, the realization of how fortunate and advanced today is in comparison to a decade ago is astounding.

Cinema is no exception. Theaters are emphasized by luxury and the amount of leather-bound reclining chairs they have. Plotline and character development are replaced with CGI effects and the 3D option whether it is the reincarnation of Terminator or the latest trend in child entertainment.

On occasion, these lavish amenities can be stripped down to an experience that can still garner a successful evening. Row House Cinema, which recently premiered in Lawrenceville this summer, offers a similar viewing pleasure that any commercial theater is capable of, with a twist.

Rather than showing the latest flicks that occupy the current box office, Row House’s single 83-seat theater digitally screens classic films of the cinema’s choosing, and posts upcoming movies on their website.

These previously released films may range from indie-cult classics like Rushmore, to other critically acclaimed blockbusters such as The Matrix, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Breakfast Club. Additionally, Row House has the interesting feature of providing beer on draft and in bottles, all from local brewing facilities.

General Manager of Row House, Theo Ackerson expressed the need to not only have a theater in Lawrenceville but to also share an appreciation for older cinema within the local community.

“There was definitely a need in the community for a theater,” Ackerson said. “Cinema was certainly lacking in Lawrenceville, and we love the idea of showing older films and bringing some classics back to the big screen.”

Since the cinema’s grand opening in June with a red carpet presentation of Pulp Fiction, Row House has taken the initiative to expand the idea of a local theater.

“We build each week around a theme,” Ackerson said. “We’ll pick four or five films around a specific theme, which gives us a little more creativity and allows us to have more fun.”

Take for example this upcoming weekend’s “Back to School Week” edition, where Row House will feature a series of favorites that were centralized around a classroom, such as high school classics Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Mean Girls. In addition, the cinema also focuses hard on implementing the craft beer element into many of their future events.

“People are super into craft beer as of lately,” Ackerson said. “It lets us do cool events, such as next week, Great Lakes (local brewing company) has a beer called Nosferatu that’s available during the fall. We’re going to do a release party for that and have people from Great Lakes do tastings, and then after that’s finished we’ll be showing the original Nosferatu.”

From tastings to panel discussions after a movie, Row House Cinema brings a much different atmosphere to the cinematic landscape not only to the Lawrenceville area, but to the general public of Pittsburgh as well. For a $9 ticket, you are going for more than just another flick, you get a completely different experience.

“We really want to establish our identity as a movie theater,” Ackerson said. “Just letting people know that there’s a place in Lawrenceville that shows pretty cool stuff that looks a little nicer than a multiplex screen and feels like home is what we’re going for.”

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