The Academy Theater is a piece of Portland history. Opened in 1948, the original Academy was the city’s first ever silver screen. The theater fell into dereliction and disrepair until it was restored to its former glory in 2006 in a style true to the original. Vintage photographs from the very first opening night at the Academy adorn the walls. The theater features three auditoriums with Dolby sound, state of the art projection technology, and comfortable reclining seating. The Academy is also wheelchair accessible and has closed-caption and listening device capabilities for the hearing impaired. The nearby cafes, pizzerias, and sushi restaurants make the Academy Theater the perfect place for a date night.
The journey toward founding Velo Cult wasn't easy, but according to owner and bike enthusiast Sky, it was worth the effort. With a name taken from the French word for "bike" and an abbreviation of the word culture, Velo Cult certainly lives up to its intent: the multi-use space is at once a bike shop, bar, cafe, and special events venue. A dozen taps dispense a weekly-changing roster of local and regional craft brews, which are served alongside more than 40 brews in cans and bottles. At the coffee bar, baristas prepare blends from four different roasters in the pour-over style.
This attention to detail and multi-use focus aren't Velo Cult's only unique attributes: the design reflects a quirky sensibility as well. The bar contains a communal table crafted from an old bowling lane, while the showroom features a folding stage made from a re-purposed 80 year-old wooden drawbridge. This platform is lowered several nights a week for live music, except during sieges. In the same space, a 100-inch projection screen showcases films and documentaries throughout the year. Velo Cult also contains its own museum, which features complete bikes from Sky's personal collection.
The light of a projector first hit the Hollywood Theatre's screen in 1926. Since then, this cinema has changed with the times—at various points serving as a Cinerama and a second-run discount movie house. After a near-closure and a nearly 15-year renovation, the building re-emerged as a non-profit, independent cinema. Today, Hollywood Theatre screens about 300 films a year, ranging from classic Hollywood and genre films to newer independent movies and quirky blockbusters.
The core of the theatre's programming, however, is its signature series. Programs such as Kung Fu Theater and Sound + Vision aim to restore classic films' spectacle to the silver screen. Outside the auditorium, Hollywood Theatre hosts educational workshops on topics such as animation, documentary filmmaking, and chiseling your own star onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the cinema's Spanish Colonial Revival building retains much of its historic charm. At the top of a curving staircase lies a lounge with plush antique furnishings and signage. Inside the main auditorium—the house's original orchestra level—films blaze to life on a 50-foot screen and a digital surround-sound system. On the theater's original balcony level, two smaller venues with just more than 110 seats provide a more intimate viewing experience.