One of Brooklyn’s most beloved video rental stores has found a way to stay open despite waning interest in DVD rentals, investing in something that will never go out of fashion — alcohol.
Williamsburg’s Videology has appealed to the borough’s cinephiles for years, but says their rebirth as a bar with a screening room and — relax, DVD rentals — will continue to feed the borough’s sophisticated film tastes while giving the store a potentially future-proof business model.
“I would be very surprised if booze got replaced by the internet,” said Wendy Chamberlain, who opened the rental store on Bedford Avenue nine years ago with fellow film buff James Leet.
“We’re hoping that we’re going to end up being one of the last local places to rent videos and what we’re doing here is going to help us.”
The store’s model based entirely around DVD rentals worked well until about three years ago, when people stopped renting as many films due to the rise of broadband streaming services like Netflix.
A year later, Chamberlain and Leet decided that if something had to give they weren’t going to let it be their store.
“About two years ago, we started to realize we were going to have to do something different or we weren’t going to be able to stay open forever,” Chamberlain said. “I don’t know if it’s specifically a Williamsburg change as much as a 21st century change.”
Cinephiles can relax knowing the bar’s screening room — formerly a room full of racks of DVDs — will be dedicated to independent and obscure movies, the type of stuff you can’t find on Netflix, owners said.
And the racks of DVDs aren’t going anywhere — except downstairs.
The store plans on keeping its 30,000 title collection in the basement — where it can hold up to twice that amount — and having the catalog available on iPads upstairs for prospective renters.
And they’ll have a full roster of theme nights, like action movie or shlocky horror film nights in addition to midnight movies on the weekends, and events like Twin Peaks bingo, and trivia, to pair with movie-inspired cocktails.
Videology joins bar and “gastroscreen” reRun at reBar in DUMBO, as well as nearby Nitehawk Cinema, as places to watch a movie and drink a beer at the same time in Brooklyn.
Videology [390 Bedford Ave. at S. First Street in Williamsburg, (718) 782–3468, www.videology.info], open 1 pm–midnight.