Oasis in an Entertainment Desert: West End Cinema

Is there anything going on in the West End?  I didn’t even know DC has a West End, the desolate area between Foggy Bottom, Dupont, and the Rock Creek Park edge of Georgetown, populated by Starbucks and hotels.  The only place I look forward to visiting around here is Trader Joe’s.  Hmmm, free samples.

Anyway, there is now something else (if you need more than cute cartoons about American presidents while grocery shopping) to look forward to in the West End.  West End Cinema, opened a few months ago, is nestled into this former entertainment desert, ready to welcome you with open, air conditioned arms.

This week, WEC is playing movies I had never even heard of (that’s how arty this art house cinema is).  I’d go so far as to say that West End Cinema is even more obscure than the AFI Silver in Silver Spring, playing those well reviewed, yet big name films.

Tucked away at the corner of 23rd and M, NW, the cinema is down a half flight of stairs, already setting the scene for a dark and cool reverie from this torrid DC heat.

Inside, the friendly and movie-savvy ticket taker will direct you to your theater.  If you’re like me and have a Living Social deal to use up (and it’s expiring soon!), the process couldn’t be easier.  Glide past or stop at the well stocked concession stand for fresh baklava and a draft Hoegaarden, among the normal popcorn, soda and candy choices.

The theaters themselves seem quite small, not cozy, but…perhaps quaint is the right word.  Quaint.  So quaint that chatting with other patrons before the feature presentation could be called difficult to avoid if the patrons weren’t so charming.  There are three theaters in the place.  I overheard two other patrons say aloud what I was thinking, “Wow, this is a small screen.”  But with movies like these, a non-humongous screen is the way to go.  Like I said, quaint.

So take a break from the summer blockbusters (really?  Smurfs?) and explore a less-traveled part of town.  FYI, Trader Joe’s closes at 10pm.

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