On a crisp November evening in 1945, just two months after WWII finally ended, the giddy murmuring of moviegoers floated through a lobby lushly decorated with rose-colored carpet, brown oak walls, and columns tiled in purple. As impressive as these appointments were, they paled next to the lobby’s other ornamentation: congratulatory telegrams from the likes of Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, and Ginger Rogers, nestled alongside flowers from well-wishing movie studios. This was the opening night of The Garland Theater, and its excited guests were about to watch a double feature of It’s a Pleasure and Double Exposure in a stadium-style theater that could seat 1,000 among its powder-blue and Italian-red walls.
Despite its splashy debut and the trendy inclusion of a record and gift shop that sold music from its features’ soundtracks, The Garland hit a rough spot and had to close in the 1960s. It reopened briefly as an X-rated movie house, then closed and stayed empty until 1995, when Don Clifton rejuvenated the historic theater, giving it the confidence it needed to screen Hollywood flicks once again. Since undergoing a total renovation this year at the hands of new owner Katherine Fritchie, The Garland now hosts 540 spacious seats, modern sound, and a state-of-the-art digital projection system.
Fritchie’s hard work has paid off. The family-friendly theater continues to welcome cinephiles and popcorn bloggers, but it keeps ticket prices down by playing its blockbusters slightly after their initial releases. Events such as Totally Tubular Tuesdays, which feature classic movies such as Peewee's Big Adventure or The Matrix, boast even cheaper admission. After the credits roll, moviegoers head to the theater’s cocktail bar, Bon Bon, for a Point of No Return with gin, flamed rosemary, and absinthe mist or a Candy Pear with Clear Creek pear brandy and black walnut bitters.
924 W Garland Ave
Spokane, WA, US
509-327-1050No deal available