Best Sudsy Cinema

The Avalon Theatre
5612 Connecticut Ave. NW, (202) 966-6000
It’s not the Avalon’s beautiful theater or compelling history that make the classic Chevy Chase cinema my favorite movie spot. For me, it’s about beer. Since the nonprofit theater opened a beer and wine serving café in 2009, local movie-goers have one less place to sneak bottles into. The Avalon is as serious about beer as it is about the artsy, intellectual movies it shows—right down to the “taste neutral” disposable cups. They’re not the only local movie house to serve suds, or the one with the longest list. But resident beer geek and general manager Henry Passman’s approach to stocking the cooler with only beers he’d drink, most brewed nearby, puts his simple, eight-bottle selection above the rest. E Street at least has DC Brau, but at places like West End Cinema or AFI Silver Theatre you’re lucky to find a Sierra Nevada. On the other hand, the Avalon’s balanced selection of styles, including Flying Dog Pale Ale and Dogfish Head 60 Minute I.P.A., together with unique brews like New Belgium’s chocolate-y 1554 Enlightened Black Ale, offer something for everyone. Beer snobs can order without having to settle, and novices can chug something familiar or try something new. (Passman’s full-page descriptions, infectious enthusiasm, and “if you don’t like it, I’ll buy you another” guarantee encourage the latter.) The selection rotates regularly, often based on the recommendations of movie-goers. Just don’t let a lively conversation about beer make you miss the opening credits.