Now that it has been fully restored, the Rio Theatre immediately recalls the splendour of its grand opening in 1938. Hiding behind the old-fashioned aesthetics, however, are a digital HD projector and surround-sound speakers that immerse filmgoers in an eclectic array of first-run blockbusters and cinema classics. Showing films again as of April 2012, the theatre’s movie selection ranges from sci-fi and horror to wholesome family films, though the program coalesces around a love for pop culture that the owners share with their most ardent fans.
Aside from the daily show times, cult classics—frequently in their original 35 mm form—screen at midnight on Fridays. Guests from all walks of life come out to these packed showings, where they can snack on popcorn made with real butter or win prizes for dressing in costume as their favourite character or key grip. The 420-seat theatre also hosts concerts and events throughout the year, including past performances by Janeane Garofalo and local musicians Bend Sinister.
Foreign, classic, and Canadian films light up the big screen at Pacific Cinémathèque, a 194-seat theatre recognized by the Vancouver Sun as the best art-house and foreign-film venue in 2009. Established as a film society almost four decades ago, the movie palace has since flourished into a polestar for under-the-radar films, showcasing lesser-known works and cinematic icons alike during single and double billings six nights a week. In an effort to enhance Vancouver's cinematic culture without transplanting the Hollywood sign to the top of One Wall Centre, the theatre is also home to several educational opportunities including a film reference library and the West Coast Film Archive, which preserves the legacy of independent filmmaking on Canada's west coast.
Rendezvous Club may not have a hidden stock of cupid’s arrows, but it does have its fair share of date cards. While they may not be as whimsical as love-yielding weaponry, club founders Hillary and Chris have found they tend to be just as effective. At some chapters, Rendezvous Club's hosts hand the cards out during speed-dating parties and dinner-dating events that serve three-course meals. Using them, singles can jot down the names, characteristics, and preferred Monopoly game pieces of people they’re interested in meeting again. For those who prefer more organic dating atmospheres, Select locations feature less-structured singles parties and mix-and-mingle events that round up singles and let them converse on their own, aided by complimentary appetizers.
Chalkboard menus and sports memorabilia adorn the inside of The Sin Bin Sports Grill, where full lunch, dinner, and brunch menus keep bellies as full as the bar’s event calendar. Sports fans join their ilk beneath 106 inches of projected television screen, and comedy fans take in standup one to two times a week. During lunch and dinner, tapas, blue-cheese-decked strip steaks, and burgers accompany the entertainment; and come midday on weekends, brunchers can sink their teeth into a variety of benedicts: blackened chicken, smoked salmon, and portobello gouda are just a few of the options.
Dunbar Theatre keeps things simple: fresh popcorn, comfortable seats, a friendly staff, and one big screen. But in simplicity is something fresh. Those newly installed seats have enough room that audiences can stretch their legs, armrests raise for cuddling, and a balcony lets viewers change up their sightlines. Old-fashioned styles aside, the movie house stays up-to-date with recently upgraded projection technology and a sound system with the clarity of 10,000 Morgan Freemans. Located near UBC, the theatre is within walking distance of numerous diners and cafes, making it a date-night no-brainer.
Your seat will be in section C of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, which includes seats in the orchestra, mezzanine, and balcony; seats are assigned on a first-come first-serve basis, so redeem early to get the best spot. You will be charged a $2 handling fee (not covered by the Groupon) when you reserve your ticket.