The By-Jo Theater, located in a charming, old-time store-front in downtown Germantown,Ohio.
A night at the movies these days is like getting mugged. Not trying to sound like a tightwad, but for Rachel and I to go see a first-run movie at the local multiplex, it would cost $20 just for two tickets, then add some popcorn, soda, and maybe some candy on top of that and it can easily be a $40 night. Movie concession prices are nose-bleed high and many of the movies released these days - in my opinion - just aren't worth it. But I know a place where it is worth it and I found it last night: the By-Jo Theater. A visit to the family-owned By-Jo takes one back to the golden era of films when it seemed like a shared, intimate experience and an enjoyable night out. There are very few "one screen movie houses" left, as they long ago succumbed to the behemoth multiplexes. My hometown had a couple that held on into the early 80s until they too shuttered. The By-Jo Theater is located in charming downtown Germantown, Ohio in a 1920s store-front. You walk up to the window, by a $4 ticket...Yes, folks, FOUR DOLLARS....enter and enjoy. The concession stand is located in the ticket window. The largest size popcorn is $3, but you can get a snack size for $1. A bag of Skittles: $1. Okay, granted, the largest popcorn size is also 1920s portion but, really, who needs a KFC chicken bucket size vat of popcorn? Once you purchase your concessions you settle into the dimly lit theater with comfortable seats, a fine view of the screen and lose yourself in Hollywood's attempt at magic. We saw the movie Sherlock Holmes, but once I was in there I didn't really even care. I just enjoyed the ambiance" the old building, the rainbow-colored sconce lights on the walls, and the small-town feel of the place. Many people seemed to know one another and they paid attention to the movie, not their cell phones. The fact that I enjoyed the movie was a bonus. Anyway, if you are anywhere in the Cincinnati-Dayton area and just want a different movie experience, go to Germantown and check out one of their charming cafes or restaurants for dinner and then an 8 p.m. show at the By-Jo. The movies are not "first run", but they aren't old old...Sherlock Holmes was released in mid-December and just came to the By-Jo, so not terrible. I think I may just see most of my movies at the By-Jo, better price, better experience (SIGH, no, they are not paying me to shill for them..I just like the experience so much I thought I'd share it). To see the By-Jo's website, click here. I had written a small article about the By-Jo for Cincinnati Magazine back in 1997. It was a small sidebar to a much larger article, but I had never seen a movie there until last night. It is kind of cool to see my article framed on the wall in their lobby:)