Movie Bars: Where to Drink and Watch Films in Bushwick


Andrew Karpan

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Everyone likes to enjoy an adult beverage in a social setting, even better if the TV does all the talking. Here are the best places in the greater Bushwick area to enjoy cult classics, TV show premiers and sunset rooftop screenings.

1. The Bad Old Days

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Photo courtesy of Solange Castellar and The Bad Old Days.

Dillon Locke at Ridgewood’s The Bad Old Days has a long list of bad movies: 1987’s “Jaws: The Revenge,” “Killer Klowns from Outer Space,” “Bio-Dome.”

“It’s cult classic stuff,” he says one evening while setting up Irwin Allen’s misbegotten disasterpiece “The Swarm,” which in 1978 starred Michael Caine as the one man willing to stand up to the threat of killer bees. These are some of the pleasures to be found projected front of the bar’s keepsake-filled atrium on its weekly “Shitty Movie Night,” which occur late on Wednesday evenings, where drinkers are also offered a complimentary bag of popcorn. And Locke is not quite as nostalgic as the bar’s novelty televisions and faux fireplace would have you believe—more recently, the likes of Netflix’s “Birdbox” have joined the ranks.

The Bad Old Days is located at 1684 Woodbine St. and their “Shitty Movie Nights” occur on Wednesday evenings at 9 p.m. Popcorn is served.

2. Syndicated 

Photo courtesy of Alonzo Maciel.

The less ironically-minded will find much to enjoy slightly north at Tim Chung’s Syndicated. This dine-in theater was a dream project of a former film location scout, and East Williamsburg’s crisp and polite answer to the Brooklyn branch of the Alamo Drafthouse empire and local imitators like Nitehawk. As a drinking hole and a ticketed movie theater, Syndicated is better than both of those options. The space is centered on a massive bar, artfully decorated like a lost 40s soundstage with a line of cocktails named after movies that can be brought to movie-watching patrons. One cocktail is named after Sam Raimi’s late return to cult horror, the tequila and ginger “Drag Me To Hell.” Programming for the bar’s large single screen is heavy in the late theatrical runs of hip art house hits, occasionally slotting in a short films by local filmmakers beforehand.

Syndicated is located at 40 Bogart St. and tickets to showings can be bought at the bar or ordered online in advance here.

3. Dromedary Urban Tiki Bar

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Photo courtesy of Sara Tasini.

Early when “urban tiki” hangout Dromedary opened, using the campily tropical space to show some of his own favorite cult movies was high on owner Michael Lombardozzi’s plans. Come March, the bar once called “cheery and defiant” by the New Yorker, will begin hosting, what Lombardozzi calls its “Tiki Science Theatre” nights, where the likes of “Flash Gordon” and “Out for Justice” will be screened with colorful commentary.

Dromedary is located at 266 Irving Ave. and is planning on beginning their “Tiki Science Theatre” evenings in March. Keep up with their Instagram for further details.  

4. Our wicked lady

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Photo courtesy of Oleg March and Our Wicked Lady.

Before turning his eye to running Our Wicked Lady, Keith Hamilton was something of a filmmaker himself, a movie buff passion that he now translates to his bar’s rooftop screening program, which will enter its fourth year in April. “Everyone was doing the Rooftop Film thing when when we opened and we had a roof, so we wanted to give that a try,” Hamilton says. Admission is free and generally begins at sundown on Monday evenings; programming is generally poppy and “fun”: “Jurassic Park,” “The Big Lebowski,” and “Pulp Fiction” all played last summer.

Our Wicked Lady is located at 153 Morgan Ave. and titles this year for their fourth annual summer rooftop series will be revealed in March. Anyone keen on updates should dutifully follow their Instagram.

5. Nowadays

Courtesy of Nowadays.

In the warmer months in the extended yardland of Nowadays, expect Summer evening screenings with a projector set up in front of a collection of a wooden tables. Laurence Kardish, a fellow who once worked at MoMa as a senior curator, will choose these as he did last year, a handsome collection of slightly eclectic titles which included Susan Seidelman’s punkish “Desperately Seeking Susan” and “Purple Rain,” the film.

Nowadays is located at 56-06 Cooper Ave. and titles for their summer screening series will arrive in better weather.

6. Paradise lounge

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Courtesy of Paradise Lounge.

Those looking for the slightly shorter runtime rush of today’s best television will not be stiffed either. The recently renovated Paradise Lounge is kicking off a run of weekly “Game of Thrones” marathons  from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sunday nights, which will be carried on mute with closed captioning until the show’s final season starts in April. The new season will be played with the volume up. Owner Austin Hartman tells Bushwick Daily that “drinking horns are encouraged.”

Paradise Lounge is located at 678 Woodward Ave. and will be playing episodes of “Game Of Thrones” on Sundays evenings, along with themed drink specials.  

7. Cobra Club + Sweet Jane’s

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Courtesy of Sweet Jane’s.

The owners of the Cobra Club are running screenings of the best of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” in preparation for the new season at their other establishment, Sweet Jane’s, on Friday nights. Dmitri Wildfong-Nishman, who runs the screenings at Sweet Jane’s, says that the screenings run on all three of the bar’s televisions and, additionally, on a projector. Both begin at 8 p.m. and, at Sweet Jane’s, the shows are followed by a RuPaul-themed Friday nights hosted by Bushwick institution Kings of Karaoke until four in the morning. On evenings where “Ru Paul” stretches for an additional hour, karaoke will begin as soon as it’s over. Wear something neon, honey.

Sweet Jane’s is located at 64-02 68th Ave. and airs “RuPaul’s Drag Race” every Friday evening at 8 p.m.

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