Vancouver Date Idea: The Force Awakens at the Dunbar Theatre

Dunbar Theatre

I’ve been going to the Dunbar Theatre (4555 Dunbar St) ever since I was a kid. I grew up near quaint Dunbar Village and even though I now live in Fairview, it still feels like home. The other night when my boyfriend and I decided to see the new Star Wars movie, there was no question that we were going to the Dunbar Theatre. After all, I once spotted Ryan Reynolds pre-Scarlett Johansson with Alanis Morissette there. Maybe he and Blake Lively would be at the theatre this time?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Dunbar Theatre, here’s why it’s my go-to destination for movie dates.

I’ve never been fond of splashy multiplex cinemas and especially on a date, I prefer the cozier, neighbourhood vibe of the Dunbar. The night we went, there was plenty of cheering from the viewers, many of whom are regulars at the theatre. I like the camaraderie, which makes it feel like I’m sharing the movie experience with a Vancouver community.

Dunbar Theatre Interior

The Dunbar Theatre, which first opened in 1935, is the only independent single-screen establishment in Vancouver showing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It seats 350 people (two levels), has comfy new seats with massive legroom (the arm rests can go up for cuddling), and in my opinion, has the best popcorn in town. I’m so addicted to their popcorn that I sometimes swing by and buy a bag for home consumption.

Dunbar Theatre

Going to a movie is a quintessential date idea, especially during the holidays when most of us are burnt out from shopping and endless family and friend gatherings. It’s far better than inviting somewhere over to watch Netflix on your couch with some microwave popcorn.

Dunbar Theatre texting

I’ve gone on my share of movie dates and have some tips on how to ensure it goes smoothly:

Schedule time to chat. Unless, you have no interest in getting to know your date (which may be the case), staring at a screen in silence side-by-side is not the best idea, at least in the initial stages. If you’re going to do a movie date, schedule some time either before or after the movie for a casual drink, coffee, and/or food. For example, The Dunbar Public House, Handi Cuisine of India, Kokopelli Café (closes 5-5:30pm), and Sushi Inn are good nearby bets.

Sourced from Kokopelli website

Sourced from Kokopelli website

Plan ahead. There’s nothing worse than getting to the theatre late, or discovering that the movie is sold out (it’s happened to me on a date). You never want to be flustered or panicked in front of the person you want to impress. If you’re the one doing the planning, leave lots of time for getting to the theatre and buying your tickets. Better yet, get your tickets in advance so you won’t be disappointed.

Pick something you’ll both enjoy. I used to drag dates to Jane Austen movies and syrupy chick flicks before I realized that perhaps they wanted to see something else. Be thoughtful and try to pick a movie that you’ll both enjoy (set a precedent for compromise). Avoid movies that are too explicit or too heavy since that can make for an uncomfortable viewing if it’s an early date.

Test the tension. Sitting next to the person you’re attracted to in a dark theatre can be delicious torture. For two hours, you have to try to focus on the movie versus their side profile. However, if you find yourself happily chowing down on the snacks with little concern about the person you’re with, this might be a sign that the physical chemistry is lukewarm.

Try the old yawn and reach. If you’re feeling brave, reach for a hand or put your arm around your date. But making out in a theatre is not cool (c’mon, there are kids around). Save that for after the movie.

Have something to say about the movie. Even if you and your date have nothing else in common, you at least saw the same movie together. Inevitably, your date is going to ask you how you liked the film. Don’t just shrug and say, “Yeah, it was ok.” Have something semi-articulate to say about why you enjoyed it. I’m not saying that you should be so opinionated that you get into an argument with your date, but at least demonstrate that you are capable of a real thought. Hopefully, the conversation will be a great jumping off point for more chatting and sharing. And if not, you got to see the latest Star Wars and polish off a bag of popcorn.


Dunbar Theatre Holiday Showtimes:

Thurs, Dec 24 at 12:10, 3:15, & 7pm
Fri, Dec 25 at 3:15 & 7pm
Sat, Dec 26–Wed, Dec 30, Daily at 12:10, 3:15, 7, & 10:10pm
Thurs, Dec 31 at 12:10, 3:15, & 7pm

Purchase your tickets by phone (604-222-2991) or in-person at the box office.

 Dunbar Theatre prices

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