The Alameda Theatre and Cineplex has been the best independent theater in the East Bay since it opened a few years ago. I do not make this statement lightly. There was a lot of political controversy in Alameda over the renovation, expansion and cost. There are also many other great independent theaters to choose from in Oakland and Berkeley.
The appeal of independent theatres often starts with classic architecture. The Alameda Theatre has the best building of all the local independent theaters. The ticket area in front is lit with a ceiling of lights. Just inside, there is a huge entrance that is cleaner than other independent theaters thanks to the recent renovation.
The main screen has been touted as the biggest in the Bay Area, and I have no reason not to believe it. My secret is to actually sit in the front section. Like many of the old time theaters, there is a stage in front of the screen, which gives patrons a good, comfortable view from every seat.
Another important aspect of the independent movie theater is character. Honestly, nothing will ever beat the organ player descending into the stage of the Grand Lake Theater of Oakland on a Friday night. The Alameda Theatre still shows some character with a sort of variety show on the weekends. It is called “Alameda’s Got Talent” and typically features a comic magician, music, trivia, and prizes.
The Alameda Theatre beats all independent theaters in the area because of the expansion. In addition to the classic main screen, the Alameda Theatre boasts seven other new screens. Alameda gets the best of both worlds: the glamour of the old school as well as the variety and comfort of the modern Cineplex.
In the East Bay, we are fortunate to have many independent theatres that specialize in independent movies, classic films or the hottest new blockbusters. The Alameda Theatre is the only one-stop shop for all three.
In fact, I think the Alameda Theatre beats any theater for first-run movies. I have noticed that the big places seem to have allegiances to different studios. So, if you want to see this week’s big release, you might go to the nearest mall only to find your movie is exclusively at another mall. In the East Bay, this might not be a big problem, but the Alameda Theatre gets every big new movie every week.