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First theater poised to shatter the booze ceiling • Brooklyn Paper

First theater poised to shatter the booze ceiling

Bartender Chad Perry pours a beer at the indieScreen’s grand opening last week.
By Stefano Giovannini

Who needs popcorn?

A Brooklyn film festival founder has unveiled a movie house that sells food and booze in Williamsburg — just weeks after the state passed a law allowing theaters to serve alcohol during screenings.

Marco Ursino — who owns indieScreen on Kent Avenue and runs Brooklyn International Film Festival — says the big screen-bar combo is a one-stop spot for dinner and flicks.

“We’re keeping dishes simple, so you’re not stuck waiting for food or rushing to the movie,” he said. “It’s a place to drink and party with a film festival mentality.”

The innovative set-up — which comes at a time when art house theaters are folding nationwide — explores a business model that uses drink profits to counteract expensive film distribution fees in an age of multiplexes and Netflix.

The small theater — which last week showed a series of short films and documentaries, including “The Queen of Williamsburg,” a heartwarming peek at one of the neighborhood’s oldest residents — has been open for several months without the restaurant and bar.

Ursino has since teamed up with chef Anna Popermhem — who caters the festival and ran the now-shuttered Planet Thailand on N. Seventh Street — in order to craft a menu of homestyle grub with a European twist.

“It’s simple, shareable comfort food with plenty of vegetarian choices,” said Popermhem, adding the menu includes a juicy meatball dish and a back-to-basics pasta with tuna.

Urniso first conceived of the idea before the theater-meets-booze legislation passed last month, saying he wanted “just a wall” to separate beer taps from the silver screen.

He now plans to get a permit that will allow theatergoers drink during the screenings.

“It should be easy,” he said, gesturing towards a glass wall that separates the bar from the big screen. “We just need to move the drinks in there.”

It’s only a matter of time.

indieScreen [285 Kent Ave. between S. First and S. Second streets in Williamsburg, (718) 388-4306]. For showtimes and tickets, visit www.brooklynfilmfestival.org.

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