Brewvies Cinema Pub
677 S. 200 West, Salt Lake City ; 801-322-3891
This cinema-pub's menu goes beyond the usual film fare but the kitchen needs to improve its execution of many dishes.
Cuisine: American, Pizza
Hours: Su-Th, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; F-S, 11:30 a.m.-12 a.m.
Liquor: Full Service
Reservations: Not accepted/necessary
Recommended Dishes: Pizza, fish and chips, nachos, wedge-cut fries.
March 4, 2009
Bridging entertainment, filling up, Brewvies satisfies.
By Lesli J. Neilson
Nine-to-fivers and parents may look at going out to eat and taking in a movie on a weeknight as simply not an option. What if you could watch a movie while you ate? For 12 years, Brewvies in downtown Salt Lake City has been offering just that.
Part dining and pool area, part dine-in movie theater, the cinema-pub agrees with a variety of patrons 21 and older, if a packed house on two recent occasions was any indication.
As a die-hard multitasker and parent of small children, I think the dine-while-watching idea is an ingenious one. But dinner -- or lunch -- in the dark poses a problem.
Luckily, the menu's designers thought twice about offering soup -- there is, however, a robust chili. Instead, sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, wraps and finger-friendly appetizers make up the majority of the menu. Four salads and two desserts -- not the best dark-dining fare -- are most likely there to content the carb-conscious and sweet-tooths. There are also 18 beers to choose from.
Menu prices cap out at $14.75 for a 14-inch pizza and all sandwiches and wraps come with wedge-cut fries, chips and salsa or a side salad. Add to that a $6 movie ticket ($3 on Wednesdays, matinees and all the time for students) and you've got dinner and a movie for $20. Granted you may be sitting in a dilapidated but comfy recliner, sofa or theater chair, but the provided coffee tables and ledges along seat backs ensure you don't have to watch a movie with food on your lap.
As for the food, there is obviously no comparison between Brewvies' nachos (half, $7.50; full, $9.75) -- chips smothered in melted Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses with black beans and other goodies including slow-roasted pulled pork and guacamole ($2.50 extra for each of the last two items) -- and a multiplex's version coated in gooey Velveeta with sub-par embellishments.
What about the rest of the menu? While three big chunks of beer-battered and fried halibut with wedge-cut fries ($12.50) were piping hot and noteworthy upon pickup, I can't say the other dishes I ate were as good ... or as hot.
Crispy chicken atop a Caesar salad ($8.75) was neither crispy nor hot, and the salad was overdressed with an unCaesarlike dressing. Bland and cold "ajou" -- I think they mean au jus -- did not do any favors to an otherwise decent French dip sandwich ($9.25), which was copious with roast beef and melted Swiss cheese.
Other dishes weren't too bad eaten cold, including the pizza -- make your own or there are eight specialty pies (10-inch, $10.25; 14-inch, $14.75) and the buffalo wings (six, $6.50; 12, $10), with a choice of chipotle barbecue, teriyaki or hot -- and I do mean hot -- sauces.
Other items that require a bit more skill did not fare much better. A 1/3-pound black and blue burger ($9.75), cheeseburger ($8.75) and creole chicken ($9.25) were either charred, dry or both, but the wedge-cut potatoes were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.
Because I like the concept, I'll return to Brewvies. But the next time, I'll stick with nachos or fish and chips and wash it down with a microbrew. I may even seek out the recliner.
Tribune's rating system
1 star Good
2 stars Very good
3 stars Excellent
4 stars Extraordinary
$ Entree under $10
$$$$ Above $25
1 bell Quiet (under 65 decibles)
2 bells Can talk easily (65-70)
3 bells Talking somewhat difficult (70-75)
4 bells Raised voices (75-80)
A bomb Too noisy for normal conversation (80+)
The Tribune covers the cost of all meals at reviewed restaurants. Star ratings are based on a minimum of two visits. Ratings are updated continually based on at least one revisit. There is no connection between reviews and advertising.
April 9, 1999
Brewvies: Food to Enjoy In the Dark
By Anne Wilson
First, let's clear up a misconception: Brewvies is not a movie theater that sells food. It is a pub (you must be 21 to get in), with pool tables, electronic darts, a menu that goes beyond standard pub fare and yes, two movie screens.
This is an important distinction, because people who have not visited Brewvies mistakenly assume that a "cinema pub" menu could not possibly venture beyond limp pizza and gourmet popcorn.
But owners David Movitz and Matt Pernichele, who modeled Brewvies after cinema pubs in Portland, Ore., decided to put more emphasis on food when the tavern opened in February 1997.
Consequently, some people go there to eat, drink beer and hang out rather than to watch an intermediate-run film. The full Brewvies experience involves doing all those things in the same night.
As a hangout, it's not bad. The tavern, which has a cement floor dating from its days as a fire station and an auto-repair shop, has been divided with wooden partitions. With their muted color, lighted tops and sculpted metal insets, these panels add visual interest to the room.
One side of Brewvies leads to the movie screens and a counter where food can be ordered and taken into the theater. The other side is full of wood tables and chairs, pool tables and a bar.
If you are seeing a movie, you buy a $3 ticket, go to the counter to order food and drink (soda or one of the 18 beers on tap, many locally brewed). Each order is assigned a number. The theater, whose seats are backed by a ledge on which to set refreshments, has a small electronic sign on one wall that lights your number when the order is ready.
Now, here's the tricky part: If you plan to eat while watching a film, understand that it will be dark. Some things are easier to eat in the dark than others. For safety reasons, any drink you take into the theater will be in a plastic glass. Expect at least one patron to drop a glass, which will then roll to the front of the room.
Pizza is one of the simpler things to eat in the dark, and Brewvies has a good selection, including several vegetarian versions. Prices range from $9.75 for a 12-inch pie to $15.25 for a 16-inch.
Choices include four-cheese, veggie (with artichoke hearts and roasted garlic!), a meat-laden combo and the "bueno," with peppers, onions, cheddar, mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, lettuce and cilantro on black-bean spread. Sour cream and salsa are served on the side. Another option is to create your own pizza from a list of ingredients that includes the old standbys as well as eggplant and feta cheese.
Burgers and sandwiches, which come with a choice of fries, corn chips or salad, are another good choice for the dark. Burgers and most sandwiches are $6.50.
One of the best is eggplant muffuletta -- marinated grilled eggplant, layered over an olive spread and covered with melted mozzarella. If you like eggplant, this sandwich is garlicky and fabulous. It is normally served on a whole wheat bun, but it is better on a toasted panini roll.
The burgers are pretty standard, large but preformed, with toppings such as jalapenos, mushrooms, grilled onions and an assortment of cheeses. (All can be made with vegetarian garden burgers.) There are several grilled chicken sandwiches, too, including a moist and mildly spicy breast topped with curried mayonnaise.
If a snack is more what you had in mind, try an appetizer: onion rings ($4.50), pizza bread ($5.75), chicken wings ($6.25), hummus (garbanzo-bean and garlic dip, $4.25), pesto artichoke dip ($5.25) or black-bean eggrolls ($4.50).
The eggrolls were developed by the staff experimenting with leftover wonton dough. These crispy little packages are stuffed with spicy black beans and cheese and served with chipotle salsa and sour cream. A little tricky in the dark but worth it.
Brewvies also has a decent selection of salads ($3.75 to $6) and a burrito ($7.25) composed of a flour tortilla filled with rice and beans, then smothered with red sauce, sour cream and cheese. Another vegetarian specialty is falafel, two patties of spicy ground soybeans served in pita bread with cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, sprouts, olives and feta cheese ($6.25).
677 S. 200 West; 322-3891 (takeout); 355-5500 (film info)
Hours: Daily, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Wheelchair Access: Yes
Credit Cards: Yes
Child's Menu: No