FilmBar shuttering downtown Phoenix theater, will live on in new form

Feb 2, 2021, 12:15 PM | Updated: 2:44 pm
(Facebook Photo/FilmBar Phoenix)...
(Facebook Photo/FilmBar Phoenix)
(Facebook Photo/FilmBar Phoenix)

PHOENIX – FilmBar’s funky but charming downtown Phoenix movie house will soon be no more, but, like a cult-movie zombie, the business will live on in a new incarnation.

With the COVID-19 pandemic rendering its bar and cozy theater unsustainable, FilmBar is making the pivot to outdoor screenings and online streaming.

“As for our original location, I’m afraid we’re going to lose that,” owner Kelly Aubey said in a newsletter last week.

“So, if you want to see it one last time before we close it, we’re still making it available for affordable rentals through the end of February.”

FilmBar has already started offering movies at Pemberton PHX, just a few blocks up Second Street from the original location, north of Portland Street. Pemberton is a community collective featuring a variety of dining options and other concepts.

The FilmBar space at Pemberton can seat 76 theater-goers with social distancing protocols. The capacity will double once COVID-19 restrictions are no longer required, and the outdoor venue will have its own full bar starting Feb. 26.

“It’ll be fun because once this project really gets rolling, there will be a bunch of bars and restaurants to choose from to grab something before and after a show,” Aubey said.

The Pemberton screenings will focus on “retro, cult and fun indie stuff,” Aubey said. Upcoming flicks include “Weird Science,” “Bring It On,” “The Room” and the king of all cult movies, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Starting this month, the FilmBar folks will also set up shop at the Phoenix Art Museum with a four-month “Films in the Garden” program.

The series offers eight indie classics in the museum’s Dorrance Sculpture Garden, starting Feb. 12-13 with the trippy 1970 release “El Topo” and running through May. The lineup includes Wong Kar Wai’s “In the Mood For Love,” The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” and Federico Fellini’s “La Strada.”

For movie buffs who’d rather stay home, FilmBar also has a video-on-demand service for recent art-house releases that change each week.

Visit the FilmBar website for more information or to purchase tickets for any of the outdoor screenings, rent the physical location before it closes or utilize the streaming service.

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FilmBar shuttering downtown Phoenix theater, will live on in new form