Looking for more than the multiplex? Try one of these five places to get your cineaste on.
The Esquire is a Cincinnati icon, established in 1911 and the biggest of the few local independent theaters left standing. You’ll find a good mix of blockbusters and indie hits at the Esquire, but the real reason to go is the self-advertised “Best Popcorn in the City.” Yes, it really is that good.
320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, (513) 281-8750
The sister theater to the Esquire, this art-house joint tends to show more international and repertory screenings than its Clifton counterpart. Same popcorn, same owners, and same vibe; you’re just more likely to find your favorite classics showing here. And who doesn’t love seeing their favorites on the big screen?
6906 Wooster Pike, Mariemont, (513) 272-2002
This group of cult cinema lovers regularly hosts theater screenings of your favorite action and horror classics (recent showings include Mad Max, The Thing, and Fire Walk With Me) alongside video store pop-ups and home media sale/swap events. For media collectors, there’s no better local group to be a part of.
Clifton’s favorite record store has partnered with the Esquire to create “Torn Light Records Presents,” a monthly series that shows underseen and underappreciated films—whether it’s B-movies, international gems, or just well-known but little-seen movies that deserve a second chance. Don’t miss the in-store video section, full of films you’ll never find anywhere else.
356 Ludlow Ave, Clifton, (513) 873-6995
There used to be 28 theaters just in downtown Cincinnati, if you can believe it. The Garfield Theatre is now the last one standing, thanks to the efforts of Cincinnati World Cinema. As the name implies, the CWC focuses on showing unheard-of flicks from all across the globe.
719 Race St., downtown