FIRST LOOK AT UPSCALE PRUNEYARD CINEMAS IN CAMPBELL

May 2, 2018

The Mercury News

FIRST LOOK AT UPSCALE PRUNEYARD CINEMAS IN CAMPBELL

It’s finally showtime at Pruneyard Cinemas in Campbell, where moviegoers can recline in luxury, munching on cornmeal crusted fried pickles and sipping a Moscow Mule while taking in “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Yes, you can still get popcorn. But now you’ve got a choice between classic with real butter and sweet or savory varieties.  And to top it off, it’s all brought to your seat by stealthy, ninja-like servers.

“I think we’re offering an experience that is unique to this area,” said Ed Rathmann, who owns Willow Street Pizza and Main Street Burgers, and partnered on the project with Camera Cinemas co-founder Jack Nyblom, public relations guru Dan Orloff and attorney Peter Liebow.

That unique experience comes at a premium — regular tickets are $13 most days of the week, going up to $16 on Friday and Saturday and dropping to $8 on Tuesdays. While most of the food offerings will put you back $12-$15 each, that’s not bad for a banh mi sandwich with fries ($15), a margherita flatbrad ($13) or pineapple lemongrass chicken wings ($11).

All the foodie-friendly offerings and drinks come from the Cedar Room, a bar and eatery attached to the theater complex that’s also open to the non-moviegoing public. Of course, this space used to be Boswell’s, a popular dive bar and live music venue that had been around for decades. (Boswell’s stained glass is gone, but a couple of potted plants hanging from the ceiling intentionally recall its status as a 1970s fern bar.)

With a pool table and a long menu of craft cocktails, beer and wine, Bar Manager Drew Johnson said the Cedar Room aims to capture the casual, neighborhood bar vibe the old bar had — but with really good drinks and food.  “We’re trying to bridge the gap between old and new,” said Johnson, who learned his way around a shaker with stints at Paper Plane, Roots & Rye and The Table. “We’re here to have fun and connect with everyone in town.”

Moviegoers have been anxiously awaiting Pruneyard Cinemas opening, which comes a little more than a year after Camera 7 closed and nearly seven months after the original planned opening. “It was like climbing Mt. Everest,” Rathmann said of the yearlong construction project. “Now, it’s like we’re at the summit and out of air, but it’s a massive relief to be here.”