Local Opposition Mounts Against ‘Metrograph Cinema’ Liquor Licenses

Posted on: October 19th, 2015 at 5:17 am by
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Buzz and excitement around the forthcoming Metrograph Cinema at 7 Ludlow Street is definitely gaining some local steam of late. After all, it’s not often that a new arts facility, let alone a movie theater, opens on the Lower East Side. This one will offer two screens and a mix of first-run independent and international movies, as well as repertory films, played on both 35mm and DCP. However, many locals are not too thrilled about one part of its strategy. Namely, the plans for its nightlife component.

Indeed, the Alexander Olch and his Metrograph concept now face some grassroots opposition to the two liquor licenses sought for the premises. A flyer campaign has been afoot in the immediate vicinity of 7 Ludlow, urging folks to attend tonight’s SLA subcommittee meeting of Community Board 3 to speak out. The trepidation is not without warrant, given the size of the space. Some fear a potential bait-and-switch and the southward march of Hell Square.

As previously reported, there are two L-shaped bars planned for the Metrograph – upstairs (14 feet) and downstairs (12 feet) – with sixteen bar stools. Moreover, there will be seventeen tables split between both floors with a total of seventy-two seats. Hours of operation are 9am to 4am daily; their application notes that “late hours during the week [due to] movie openings and special events.” No alcohol will be permitted in the theater, though. The kitchen, meanwhile, offers up a menu service for “Art Deco American cuisine,” and will remain open during all hours.

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Rendering of the Metrograph theater on Ludlow St.

Below are some other highlights about the Metrograph:

  • There are two theaters: a 50-seat room for rough cuts and screenings, and a 175-seat room for bigger features.
  • According to incoming programmer Aliza Ma, programming is a “celebration of cinema that’s accessible to everyone,” inspiring a sense of discovery. For instance, a Kung Fu series is planned.
  • Metrograph is for-profit. Admission would be comparable to other art houses in the area (i.e. Angelika, IFC). There will be student discounts.
  • There’s a complementary indie bookstore.
  • Timeline – December completion, January 2016 testing, February debut.

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