What better way to unload stress from the perpetual midterm season than a good old-fashioned trip to the movies? I can say for myself that after my week, that was just what I needed. Even though I’m lucky enough to live close to home, it’s been a while since I’ve seen my mom, so I asked her if she wanted to spend a day at the theater with me.
Warehouse Cinemas Rotunda, a classy, elevated Maryland-based movie theater, opened a third location earlier this year at the Rotunda. Per their website, they believe the movies should feel “special” and "like you’re at home.” I’d never been there before, so I knew it was time to check it out and see if it lived up to the hype.
My mom picked me up from McCoy Hall for a 6 p.m. showing of Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla. Walking in, it was immediately clear that this was a step up from your run-of-the-mill AMC Theatres. The Warehouse Cinema Rotunda is clean and well-staffed, with mouth-watering dinner options, a full bar, comfortable lobby seating and stylish decor. It transforms a traditional movie theater into a haven that seamlessly blends culinary excellence with entertainment extravagance.
Normally when we go to the movies, we make a pit stop at the dollar store beforehand for cheap candy and soda, but the online menu was so appetizing that it convinced us to forgo our usual tradition and order a margherita pizza for our movie dinner. We also ordered a Diet Coke for my mom and a blue raspberry slushie for me. The food and drinks were somewhat pricey but pretty typical for a cinema, and since it was a Tuesday, our tickets were only $7 each, which made up for it. (On other days of the week, tickets range from $8 to $17, with higher prices on weekends that increase as it gets later in the day.)
In addition to margherita pizza, they offer meals like gourmet grilled cheese, mac and cheese bites, churros and, of course, popcorn. Though neither of us ordered from the bar, the cocktail options sounded exquisite: a series of film-inspired drinks like Godfather — a strong mix of Hennessy and other alcohols complete with a flamed orange peel — or Cast Away — a rum drink similar to a Blue Hawaii cocktail. The staff was all incredibly welcoming toward us and happy to help.
While waiting for our pizza, we took a seat in one of several cozy green velvet chairs in their large lounge area, illuminated by hanging lights including a big gleaming light fixture reading “Charm City.” There, we faced a wall painted with a fitting mural of characters from the The Wizard of Oz interposed with the Maryland flag, reminding us of Warehouse Cinemas Rotunda’s commitment to a local focus. The wait was short and more than worth it. The pizza was divine, the regular margarita ingredients accompanied by a balsamic glaze that really made it stand out (just writing this article has me missing it).
Going into the theater itself, the quality didn’t falter. We sat in the very back, but with sloped seating and a huge screen, our view was still more than adequate. The audio was just right — not too loud, not too quiet. The seats themselves were super comfortable, too — leather reclining chairs with cup holders and large, rotating tray tables attached. Sinking into that cozy leather melted all my stress away. Legs kicked up and your meal perfectly in reach is the ultimate way to watch a movie, and they nailed it. The film itself was also very good, so we both had a great time.
On all accounts, Warehouse Cinemas Rotunda is a wonderful spot to check out. They’ve certainly achieved their goal and exceeded my expectations of a home-like, special movie experience. I would definitely recommend going — it’s affordable, just a shuttle away and well worth it for combining dinner and a movie into one lovely adventure. Escape the demands of daily life and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of movies at Warehouse Cinemas Rotunda.