Battered by pandemic, FilmBar in downtown Phoenix closes after 11 years

Jan 18, 2022, 2:07 PM | Updated: 4:27 pm
(Facebook Photo/FilmBar Phoenix)...
(Facebook Photo/FilmBar Phoenix)
(Facebook Photo/FilmBar Phoenix)

PHOENIX — A downtown Phoenix entertainment staple has closed its doors after nearly 11 years, citing challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelly Aubey, owner of FilmBar, made the announcement Tuesday.

“The strains of COVID have been too great and I don’t believe the future of small for-profit arthouse cinemas is very bright,” Aubey said in a post.

“We were already operating on a razor’s edge and COVID has reduced the percentage of people who would normally come out to a show anytime in the near future to a point that’s no longer supportable.”

The venue, located on Second Street between McKinley and Garfield streets, had been closed for about a month prior to the update.

FilmBar opened in February 2011 and was a hub for indie, cult, foreign, local and other types of film.

“I believe it’s possible to rebuild as a nonprofit,” Aubey said. “In retrospect, we probably should have done that from the beginning.

“It’s not impossible that I’ll have another go at this as a nonprofit but right now I need to rest a bit.”

Aubey asked those interested in keeping the location open in any capacity to email him at

The venue will be open from noon to 7 p.m. Saturday through Monday in order to sell items including A/V equipment and cabling, furniture, a kegerator, other restaurant equipment and memorabilia.

“I’m honored that FilmBar earned your support over the years,” Aubey said. “You could have just not shown up at all and I had no expectation that anyone would care about what we’ve tried to achieve here.

“Yet, enough of you did and helped us bring unusual, thought-provoking shows to Phoenix for nearly 11 years.”

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Match Market & Bar Photo/Timothy Fox Photography)...

What’s cooking? Spring Arizona Restaurant Week starts 10-day run Friday

More than 100 restaurants have signed on to show off their menus during Arizona Restaurant Week, which kicks off Friday.
16 hours ago
(Photo by: Lindsey Nicholson/UCG/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)...
Danny Shapiro

Phoenix gas average eclipses $5 a gallon with more increases likely this summer, expert says

Phoenix has eclipsed an average of $5 for a gallon of gasoline and prices are likely to continue rising for a while, an industry expert said Wednesday.
16 hours ago
(Pixabay Stock Photo)...

Bicycle rider dies after getting hit by car on Phoenix street

A man who was riding a bicycle died after getting struck by a car Tuesday night on 51st Avenue near Camelback Road in Phoenix, authorities said.
16 hours ago
U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Arizona) meets with a Border Patrol official in Douglas, Arizona, in April ...
Kevin Stone

Here’s what Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona wants to see before Title 42 is lifted

U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona said there will be chaos at the southern border if Title 42 ends before the government is prepared to address the surge of migrants expected to follow.
16 hours ago
(Phoenix Fire Department Photo)...

More than 150 firefighters beat back flames at Phoenix pallet yard

More than 150 firefighters spent hours putting out a large fire at a pallet yard late Tuesday, first responders said.
16 hours ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Danny Shapiro

Chandler is No. 1 nationally for increase in 2-bedroom rent, according to report

Chandler is tops nationally for increase in two-bedroom rent, according to a report released Friday.
16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
(Twitter photo / Coco5)...

Suns star Devin Booker’s all-natural sports drink Coco5 perfect for any activity

Devin Booker is leading the Suns in pursuit of their first NBA championship while also working to provide people proper hydration with Coco5.
Dr. Richard Carmona

COVID-19 shots continue long tradition of vaccines protecting public health

You want to feel safe. You want your family to be safe. Are vaccines safe? The simple and important answer is: Oh my yes!
Battered by pandemic, FilmBar in downtown Phoenix closes after 11 years