Spotlight on San Francisco's Kabuki Theatre

Toshiyuki IMAI/Flickr
Toshiyuki IMAI/Flickr
Photo of Hana Nobel
23 December 2016 are a lot of places to watch a movie in San Francisco. You can head to Foreign Cinema for dinner and a film, or you can even watch a movie in a public park in the summer. But if you’re looking for a year-round movie experience beyond a mainstream blockbuster and popcorn, head to the Sundance Kabuki for an indie film and a beer, instead.


The Kabuki is an independent movie theater that is run by the Sundance Cinema. The Sundance Cinema chain has four other theatres across the country in Seattle, Washington, Houston, Texas, Madison, Wisconsin and West Hollywood, California. The theaters are known for showing movies that are hard to find, and food and drinks that are hard to refuse.

The theater is a great place to find films that are not showing anywhere else in the city, so it is a good place to see small releases and foreign films. But the Kabuki does have its fair share of major releases, too. The theater also hosts events during various San Francisco film festivals and cultural events, where special films are screened for a night or weekend.


The San Francisco Kabuki is located in Japantown (hence the Japanese-inspired name), which has plenty of options for pre or post-show meals like ramen, sushi, and yakisoba. And luckily all theaters have reserved seating, so there’s no need to rush from dinner to make sure you get a good seat. But if you don’t eat beforehand, food is also available inside the theater. And in even better news, drinks are also available. (And yes, that means alcoholic drinks.) The over-21 crowd can grab a beer or cocktail from the Balcony Bar or Bistro Bar and all alcoholic beverages and food (desserts included!) are allowed in the theater. If you are hungrier for more than popcorn, Kabuki’s menu includes sandwiches, sliders, pizzas, Mediterranean bites, and more. And for a sweet treat, you must try the cheesecake.

Christopher Beland/Wikimedia

If you are looking for an adult’s night without the potential disruption of children or teens in the theater, the Kabuki has a few shows each day that are strictly for the 21+ crowd. The 21+ show times are marked on the website. The same 21+ crowd can take advantage of Kabuki’s “Students of Life” night every Tuesday. No student ID is required for a weekly $6.00 admission and $6.00 popcorn.

For more reasons than a child-free evening, the Kabuki is a better date spot than traditional theaters. For a more intimate experience, like a night that deserves cuddling, the Kabuki’s Screening Rooms have rocking chair love seats and tables. (No arm rest blocking the snuggling here!) Plus, there’s something much more romantic about sharing Champagne than a Pepsi together.

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