row house cinema

Row House Cinema, an 88-seat, single-screen movie theater on Butler Street in Lawrenceville, will open to the public on Friday when it starts a week-long soft opening.

Row House will mix amenities for the modern moviegoer, such as healthy concession snacks, draft beer and a variety of seating options, with design intended to invoke a feel of Hollywood’s golden age.

“It definitely has a character and a unique feel to it,” says owner Brian Mendelssohn, a principal at Lawrenceville-based Botero Development. “Whether we nailed 1920s Hollywood glam or not, I’m not sure, but the reaction has been positive from the people who’ve seen it so far.”

The theater will show a curated selection of films ranging from classics to cult favorites. Its soft opening week will include screenings of American Graffiti, Spaceballs, The Matrix, How the West Was Won and Gangs of New York.

Row House’s grand opening celebration will take place on June 21 with a screening of Pulp Fiction.

In addition to serving as a destination for Pittsburgh film enthusiasts, Mendelssohn says he very much sees the theater as a community resource for Lawrenceville.

“For the last two weeks, we’ve been having members of the Lawrenceville community in for free to help shape it, and beyond that, we want them to help curate it,” he says, adding that he plans to work with Lawrenceville United to organize screenings for its various programs for children and residents with special needs. Additionally, Row House will have an active presence on Lawrenceville’s Nextdoor network.

“We want it to be a destination for the city of Pittsburgh without a doubt, but we want it to be a resource for our community,” he says. “We have people with needs. Let’s meet those needs with the tools that we have.”

Atlas Bottleworks, a craft beer outlet in the adjacent space and Row House’s sister business, will also open on Friday (see today’s Eat/Drink column for more on that).

Matthew Wein

Matthew Wein is a local writer, editor, blogger, storyteller and proud native Pittsburgher. Once described as "a man of things," he covers city design, spirits and craft beer for NEXT, where he keeps all of the editorial meetings light-hearted and interesting. His interests include sorting books, looking at old things and candles which smell like old-growth pine forests.