Bijou Cinema

82 E. 4th Street,
New York, NY 10003

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Film Forum

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Bijou Cinema

Located in the basement of the building on the southwest corner of 2nd Avenue and E. 4th Street in the East Village, entrance is via a non-descript ‘discreet’ doorway (on E. 4th 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!).

The basement was first given a Certificate of Occupancy on October 22, 1927:Cellar-Persons Accommodated 150-Restaurant, cabaret & storage. Originally named Rainbow Inn. In 1954 it became a gay ‘drag’ and dance bar named ‘Club 82’. The drag shows moved out and Club 82 became a rock music venue from 1972. It featured bands such as Another Pretty Face and The New York Dolls. In 1978 it became the Film Forum, screening independent movies. It later became an all-male strip club. In 1990 it became a live music venue named Woody’s, operated by Ron Wood, but this failed and closed within months. It reopened as the Bijou Cinema in around 1992, operated by the owners of the (now closed/demolished Bijou Cinema ex-Jewel/Comet, etc, at 100 3rd Avenue).

The Bijou Cinema re-opened in January 2006 after it had closed in 2005 for a complete re-fit and renovation, with new d├ęcor, 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) tended 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 included a pool table and TV lounge.

Taking all aspects into consideration, this was 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 continued in 2013. The operating hours are 9pm until 4am. It had closed in April 2019 and when I visited the cinema in July 2019 I saw it was being gutted. It reopened as a bar named Nitecap, which was possibly a victim of the Covid-19 pandemic. In August 2023 it was announced that the space would be converted into a gay live performance venue.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

pmullinsj on January 12, 2008 at 8:14 pm

It was in November of this year, I went there, and it was indeed a nice space. I’ve heard that it has been recently closed due to flooding (it’s a basement). Would like to know more, as I had thought it would become a hangout for me.

pmullinsj on January 12, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Opening post is confusing, indicating this ‘Bijou’ was open at this location at the same time the Bijou which was on 3rd Avenue for a good many years between 12th and 13th (I believe). Says owned by same people, but I knew about the 3rd Avenue one during the 80s and 90s, not about this one. Thanks

Drizz on February 7, 2008 at 4:09 pm

Does anyone have the phone number for this place and also are they still open?

pmullinsj on February 7, 2008 at 4:29 pm

No phone number and it is still closed.

MagnumForce on July 11, 2008 at 12:33 am

For sure, it is open at this date (July 11, 2008)
I have been there a couple and now is looking more neat and cleaner after certain renovations.

ziggycrone on August 13, 2009 at 8:48 pm

has any body bin by latly

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 9, 2010 at 6:53 pm

The First Film Forum was at 256 west 88th Street. I am not sure when they had screenings here although I do not doubt they probably did.

nycman on December 29, 2021 at 3:31 am


Thanks. I guess no more adult cinemas in the city. Giuliani really messed it up for all of us.

m00se1111 on August 28, 2022 at 2:16 pm

Rudy’s got bigger problems anymore than closing down some adult theatres….

marqueemaven4 on August 17, 2023 at 4:49 am

A restaurant called Ella Funt has opened on the street level (that wasn’t part of the Bijou before) and the new owners who opened that plans to have a Club 82 gay live performance/theater space, modeled on the original theater layout, in the basement where Bijou was. Occasional film screenings are planned also.

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