Movie theaters are great, but they are also out to get us. They charge us for popped corns (which are made of air); they tell us to be silent (because silence is golden and they want our gold); they torture naked hot dogs on a pitiless, fiery rack, and they’ve even begun hoarding our precious bedbugs. But no more! To the beer parlors, my friends – where the movies are free, the drinks are hard, and cell phone service is restored! Brooklyn bars offer a steady diet of free movie screenings for every taste, and Brokelyn is here to help you find the screen that suits you best.
Cafe Steinhof, 422 7th Ave. at 13th St. Sundays at 10:30 pm.
Sunday night movies at Café Steinhof began as an impromptu gathering of friends, but now it’s an institution, with bar regulars and the odd out-of-sloper supplementing the original crowd. There’s a different theme each month (this month’s theme is Cold War thrillers), but the selections generally include classic or underappreciated movies of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Dining tables offer extra viewing space when the bar stools don’t suffice, but seating is rarely a problem. The movies are always interesting, the popcorn is free and conversation is encouraged.
Recent showings: Last month’s theme of “winter chillers” included Dead Snow; A Simple Plan; and Fargo
Coming soon: Fail-Safe (Feb 13); The Package (Feb 20); and The Manchurian Candidate follows the Academy Awards on Feb. 27
BONUS: Café Steinhof doesn’t offer any discounts on drinks during the screenings, but $5 cans of Boddington’s remain a solid option.
Huckleberry Bar, 588 Grand St., at Lorimer. Mondays at 9:00 pm.
Screenings at the Huckleberry Bar also tend to be filled with neighborhood regulars, but the eclectic movie selections leave no taste unindulged. For me, the Feb. 14 screening of True Romance is the pick of this month’s litter (Hans Zimmer’s score is my Valentine; Bronson Pinchot can be yours). There’s some talk of a Patrick Swayze series in the future, but in the meantime all you have to do is join their mailing list and you’ll be assured of free popcorn, discounted drinks, and the opportunity to make your voice heard about future selections.
Recent showings: Badlands; Cool Hand Luke; The Virgin Suicides
Coming soon: True Romance (Feb 14); Ghost World (Feb 21); Welcome to the Dollhouse (Feb 28)
BONUS: Two-for-one pricing on cocktails if you sign up for a movie membership.
Liquid Cinema at Soda Bar, 629 Vanderbilt Ave. between St. Mark’s Ave. and Prospect Pl. Tuesdays at 9:00 pm.
The screening room for Liquid Cinema is dark, it’s loaded with couches and it also plays host to a very sweaty dance party on the weekends. As a result, Soda Bar has no problem accommodating a strangely functional blend of film buffs, curious regulars and unwitting couples on Tuesday nights. The movies vary from 80s staples and cult classics to shorts from local filmmakers and various themed entries. Liquid Cinema also provides filmmakers with a means of showing their own short features to live audiences, and the viewing space – which is more like a theater than a bar – fits that purpose well.
Recent showings: The Wiz; Groundhog Day; The Last Boyscout (in honor of National Boy Scout Day)
Coming soon: Can’t Buy Me Love (Feb 15); W. (Feb 22); Ice Pirates (Mar 1); Down by Law (Mar 8); The Departed (Mar 15)
BONUS: Soda provides themed drink specials for each film, including a $6 Cherry Rum Kiss for Can’t Buy Me Love, and $10 Long Island WMD’s for W. (Liquid Cinema is also taking submissions for the Liquid Cinema Short Film Festival on April 12. Feel free to contact them to find out more about showing your own short film.)
South 4th Bar and Café, 90 South 4th St. at Berry St. Tuesdays at 9:00 pm.
At South 4th Bar and Café, free movie night pays you. Along with reasonably priced (read: zero dollar) popcorn, attendees receive one ticket for each and every pint of discounted seasonal beer that they consume, and at the end of the night the tickets are pooled and a drawing is held for a prize from co-sponsor Harpoon Brewery. Drinking game sheets are specially designed for each movie, and all movie choices are generated from a single suggestion box.
Recent showings: Mall Rats; This is Spinal Tap; Groundhog Day
Coming soon: Shaun of the Dead (Feb 8), Goonies (Feb 15), and, for President’s Day, Air Force One (Feb 22).
BONUS: $4 pints of the Harpoon seasonal
King’s County Cinema Society (Varies)
Unlike the other organizations listed here, King’s County Cinema Society doesn’t have a regular home or a consistent viewing time, but it’s definitely worth keeping tabs on its website to see where they’ll pop up next. Soda Bar is currently hosting Wednesday night screenings of films related to Black History Month, and beginning in March (on the first Wednesday of the month) Society member Nick Shimkin will present a variety of inappropriate audiovisual materials to age-appropriate audiences at the new Freddy’s in south Park Slope. KCCS has also been known to pop up with an array of documentaries and art house films at backyards in Bushwick, as well as at Littlefield in Gowanus, LaunchPad in Crown Heights, and Unnameable Books in Prospect Heights. The films are almost always free, and they often come with a drink special. Check out their site for more information.
Recent showings: Down by Law; I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka
Coming soon: Melvin Van Peebles’ very first directorial effort The Story of a Three Day Pass (Feb 23 at LaunchPad)
BONUS: Drink deals vary according to the place and the film, but frequent host LaunchPad has a BYOB policy.