Historically, Pittsburgh is a city known for its bridges and steel. Look a little closer, however, and you’ll find an ambitious, well-loved arts scene in the steel city, especially when it comes to films. For that reason, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are at least 10 independent movie theaters in the ‘Burgh – and that they’re thriving, with plenty of exciting film programming and special (often food-centric) events. If you’re looking for a place to catch older, independent, and foreign films, or you just love the idea of eating French pastries while watching a French classic like Amélie, check out these indie theaters:
The Manor Theatre
Located in the East End, the Manor Theater is one of Pittsburgh’s hallmark independent cinemas, hosting screenings for nearly a century. Its renovated theater spaces and state-of-the-art screens feature a wide range of films, from major contemporary releases to beloved cult classics. It’s also connected to M Bar, a cocktail bar with upscale movie concessions and beverages you can enjoy during your movie!
Row House Cinema
Lawrenceville staple Row House Cinema is a single-screen theater with an exceptionally well-curated program of films that would impress just about any cinephile. For only being open less than a decade, it’s already made quite an impression on indie movie fans in Pittsburgh thanks to its foodie event screenings, drive-in pop-ups, and annual film festivals. Plus, it’s connected to Bierport, a beer shop with many craft cans and bottles you can have chilled to order for your movie.
The Oaks Theater
Historically known as the “Jewel of Oakmont,” the Oakmont Theater has celebrated all things entertainment since 1938. Today, it’s probably the only place in the ‘Burgh where you could enjoy a classic film, a live music performance, a music-themed trivia game, and an interactive brunch all in the same week. In addition to its single-screen theater, the Oakmont Theater features two full-service bars, a 20-seat lounge, and a 360-degree platform bar right inside the auditorium – so it’s all but guaranteed you’ll never be thirsty.
Since its early days as one of Pittsburgh’s first motion picture houses, the Harris Theater (formerly known as the Art Cinema) is now run by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, which has fully redeveloped the historic theater and restored it as part of its mission to transform the Cultural District. The Harris Theater hosts screenings of contemporary, classic, and foreign films and is one of few theaters in the region that has retained and regularly uses 35mm film projectors.
The Lindsay Theater
At the beginning of the year, the former Tull Family Theater in Sewickley was given a new name – The Lindsay Theater. However, its mission of hosting film screenings, cultural programming, and community events in Sewickley hasn’t changed at all. This nonprofit theater features “new releases, classics, documentaries, international and educational films including art, museums, musicals, stage plays and music on screen” as well as live music and cultural events, with discounts and special programming to help make the arts more accessible to all.
From its beginning as a silent theater in 1926, the Hollywood Theater in Dormont has been a landmark in the community for nearly a century. Over the years the theater has faced setbacks, but since 2018, the Theatre Historical Society of America has owned and operated the space in order to keep the Hollywood Theater open in the community. It has become popular once more thanks to engaging events like “Breakfast and a Movie,” shadow cast performances of Rocky Horror Picture Show, and more. In addition to special events, the theater shows one contemporary major release film daily for a week at a time.
The Parkway Theater
The Parkway Theater & Film Lounge is a triple threat, containing within its walls a theater, brewery, and bar. In addition to curated screenings of independent films, foreign films, and documentaries, the Parkway Theater space hosts tons of live events like trivia, comedy sets, live music, and more. As for concessions, its film lounge bar features craft brews from Abjuration Brewing and a full menu of specialty cocktails for every event.
MovieScoop Waterworks Luxury Cinemas
While the amenities at MovieScoop Waterworks may remind you of larger chain cinemas, this theater is actually fully independently owned with all the features of a nationwide cinema brand! Along with an additional location in Cranberry and its sister cinema in Century Square, MovieScoop theaters feature luxurious recliner seating, gourmet popcorn and concessions, and a wide range of contemporary major-release films – without the major studio prices.This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.