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Art deco Cerrito Theatrer opens Nov. 1

The City of El Cerrito announces the grand re-opening of El Cerrito’s newly restored art deco Cerrito Theater. Nearly 40 years after the movie house’s lights went dim, the Cerrito will return to operation on November 1, 2006.

The El Cerrito Redevelopment Agency and Speakeasy Theaters have worked in partnership to restore and rehabilitate the Cerrito into a two-screen theater with restaurant service. This represents a major investment by the Agency in the community and a major expansion for Speakeasy Theaters.

The Cerrito Theater, located at 10070 San Pablo Avenue (between Fairmount and Central Avenues), was built in 1937. The theater closed in the 1960’s and was subsequently used as a furniture warehouse. When the building was put on the market in 2001, it was discovered that the original art deco murals and mirrors inside the building had remained intact, and the City of El Cerrito began to explore restoring the building as a theater.

Following tremendous community interest, when nearly 3,000 people attended an open house co-hosted by the El Cerrito Redevelopment Agency and the fledgling, non-profit, Friends of the Cerrito Theater, the Agency purchased the building and partnered with Speakeasy Theaters to operate the theater. Since 2002, the Friends have been building community and financial support for the project, now with over 2,000 members and over 425 donors from all over the Bay Area.

Speakeasy Theaters, owned by Catherine and Kyle Fischer, are operators of the Parkway Speakeasy Theater in Oakland and will operate the theater under the name “Cerrito Speakeasy Theater”. Speakeasy Theaters’ unique style of movie and restaurant service includes beer and wine, while patrons view films in a casual setting with sofas and tables.

On Wednesday, November 1, 2006, the Cerrito Speakeasy Theater will be open to the public. The theater is restricted to patrons 21 and over for all shows except for Saturday matinees and Family Night every Sunday, when families are admitted to all shows. The ticket booth will open at 5:00 p.m. Opening films will be “Casablanca” and “Pulp Fiction”, and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The Cerrito Speakeasy Theater is located just three short blocks west of the El Cerrito Plaza BART Station, near the corner of Central Avenue and San Pablo Avenue. Though on-street parking is plentiful, theater patrons are encouraged to ride BART, AC Transit or use alternative transit options when coming to the Cerrito. The Cerrito is fully wheelchair accessible. There are future plans for Rear Window® captioning and assisted listening devices for deaf and blind patrons.

Run dates: 2006-10-29 - 2006-11-20

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