Special Issues » Summer Guide

Arkadin Is the Ultimate Backyard Movie Night



One of the coolest things to do outdoors in St. Louis is to see a movie under the stars. There are a couple of places in the metro area where you can enjoy cinema outside, but the Arkadin Cinema & Bar (5228 Gravois Avenue, 314-221-2173) offers a special experience.

Unlike visiting a large drive-in, films at the Arkadin are a boutique experience. The theater was originally planned to be an indoor micro-cinema, but COVID-19 changed all of that. Now the owners host films in a tiny parking lot near their location.

In order to give everyone space to social distance, crowds are kept small, making all of the screenings super exclusive. The normal movie experience before the pandemic had audiences crammed into dark, crowded spaces, but watching a film hosted by Arkadin feels more like a friendly movie night in your friend's backyard.

This little lot off of Gravois Avenue hosts some very important films, too. From arthouse works to classic blockbusters, fans never know what movie the Arkadin will schedule next. Upcoming films on the schedule range from Rear Window and Blue Velvet to Written on the Wind and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.

These small, intimate screenings do offer some of the comforts of a regular moviegoing experience, though. They have all of your favorite snacks like popcorn and candy available. Owners Sarah Baraba and Keith Watson often surprise guests with an extra little treat, too, like the koozies they gave out at a screening of Repo Man printed with one of Bud's famous quotes. ("Look at 'em, ordinary fucking people, I hate 'em.")

Another perk of the Arkadin is the booze. The theater worked out a collaboration with a neighboring bar, the Heavy Anchor (5226 Gravois Avenue, 314-352-5226), that makes it easy for guests to grab a cocktail or a beer during the screenings, too.

So if you want a casual movie night out under the stars with snacks and booze (without the hassle of trying to get it all set up in your backyard), Arkadin is the place you want to be on these hot summer nights.

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