82 E. 4th Street,
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Located in the basement of the building on the southwest corner of Second Avenue and East Fourth Street in the East Village, entrance is via a non-descript ‘discreet’ doorway (on East Fourth Street) which during the daytime when closed has a roller shutter over it. Descending a flight of stairs down to the cinema, there are movie posters in frames (although these are not usually the movie being screened inside!)
Several years ago this was a gay ‘drag’ and dance bar named ‘Club 82’. It later became known as the Film Forum, screening independent movies. It became the Bijou Cinema in around 1992, operated by the owners of the (now closed/demolished Bijou Cinema ex-Jewel/Comet, etc, at 100 Third Avenue).
The Bijou Cinema re-opened in January 2006 after it had closed in 2005 for a complete re-fit and renovation, with new decor, seating and lounge areas. It operated daily from early in the evening until around 5:00 AM in the mornings. Seating in the main auditorium is in comfortable new theatre style seats and the movies screened (via DVD digital projection) tend to be a mix of art house and fairly new ‘mainstream’ releases, with occasional ‘fill-ins’ of camp TV comedy shows such as ‘Little Britain’ or pop promo videos. I saw a couple of Japanese sub-titled movies and the latest “Star Wars” movie on recent visits.
A passageway located to the right of the auditorium and behind the main screen contains booths which screen gay porn movies on tv screens in each booth. The old bar from years ago is still there but not in use, but other facilities include a pool table and TV lounge.
Taking all aspects into consideration, this is a clean and well run establishment catering to a gay male clientele. It was closed in late-December 2007 due to flooding, but this was only temporary. It had re-opened by July 2008 and continues in 2013. The operating hours are 9pm until 4am.
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