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Home Away From Home Away From Home

It’s no secret that Studio 35 and I are quite fond of one another.

Well before they renovated the dank, old haunt of mine, I would stop in for movies, special events, or just swing in for a pint and hang out on a battered red couch in a dimly lit corner. Truth be told, the renovation scared me—I’d gotten used to the slightly sleazy vibe of the old ramshackle movie house on Indianola.

But the new place grew on me, and I became one of many regulars. Even after I moved to Highland West, I would make a weekly pilgrimage to Studio 35 for the Sunday screening of Walking Dead. More often than not, I was there more than once a week—sometimes just to partake of the excellent selection of beer.

When Eric Brembreck mentioned they’d taken over the Grandview Theatre with designs on “bringing some Studio 35 funk” to the west side, I was pretty happy. Grandview’s right around the bend from my house—easily accessible by bicycle, if I’m so inclined. Plus, despite its proximity, Grandview has been slow to grow on me. Such is the struggle one encounters living in one part of town for 20 years.

Grandview Theatre debuted in May and was an immediate hit. They hit a few bumps in the road, but only the most discerning customer would notice. There’s a different feng shui here, and a crew accustomed to the rectangular, center island bar at Studio 35 were a little out of sorts behind the giant “L” at Grandview. The setbacks, however, were minor, and it was nice to see familiar faces. Maybe that’s why I felt at home seconds after walking in.

Clever use of sound dampening panels keeps the din of a robust happy hour crowd from ricocheting off the walls, and a glass accordion door lets the outside in. Forty beers are on tap, and there’s a full bar featuring local spirits as well as the usual crowd favorites. Food comes via Panzera’s Pizza, a local legend in the Grandview area, cranking out quality pies on a thin, yet airy crust that packs a lasting crunch. I’m not sure if Panzera’s understands what they’ve gotten into, but I wish I owned a piece of them right now.

Oh, and there’s a reason it’s called Grandview Theatre. The auditorium in the back houses 160 seats, crisp digital projection, and a certified sound system to deliver everything you’d want in a movie-watching experience—not to mention ticket prices are only eight bucks. Obviously, the single screen means that you’re saddled with one movie (and something like Captain America Civil War usually entails a multi-week engagement by the theatre) but what is lacking in selection is made up for in charm.  Multiplex theaters can feel so detached and impersonal. Grandview, like Studio 35, is the kind of place where you can sit at the bar and talk about the movie with people you’ve just met, or a staff that actually enjoys what they do. I’ve made lots of new friends at Studio 35 over the years, and I can tell I’ll be doing the same at Grandview Theatre.