About Vine Cinemas
The Vine Cinema & Alehouse is not your ordinary movie theatre. Considered one of “Livermore’s most unique experiences,” we are a complete date night wrapped into one! People come for the amazing food, beer & wine selections all delivered to your table or couch inside the theatre. More people enjoy the independent films, live sporting events and classic films – so much more quality content than the normal movie house. Finally, even more people enjoy the adult atmosphere, the friendly & knowledgeable employees and the most amazing popcorn in the Tri-Valley!
Our History: The Vine Cinema first opened on December 26, 1956. A small Jack Lemmon and Jane Austin film called “You Can’t Run Away From It” was the first motion picture shown that day. Originally a one screen theatre with a tiny lobby, the Vine Cinema was California’s most modern theatre for its time featuring Cinemascope, Vista-Vision, Superscope and “Directional Sound.”
The Vine Cinema split into two auditoriums and expanded its lobby in the mid 1970’s. Having multiple owners through the years, the Vine always managed to keep its doors open, even during the lean times.
The current operator, Kenny Way, joined the Vine way back in 1989 as a young Granada High School student. At that time the Vine was a successful second run theatre showing 4-6 week old films for a discount ticket of only $2.50. And on Tuesdays and Thursdays the crowds really came down for 2 for 1 nights!
The Vine went through little structural changes in the 90's, but changed from second-run films to first-run films in 1992, with Batman Returns starring Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito as it’s first “new” first-run film. This angered some people as the ticket prices jumped from $2.50 to $6.50!
In 2000, the Vine Center was sold and remodeled, and the Vine Cinema was bought by its current owners and operators. The Vine went through an extensive remodel in 2001-2003, with the marquee being the single biggest change. What was once two run down and broken marquees on both First and South “O” streets, became a brand new double sided marquee on First Street. This gorgeous new sign now sets the Vine Cinema apart from other theatres that do not even feature a marquee.
The lobby went through big changes as well in 2002, as the concession stand doubled in length, the bathrooms were completely remodeled, and the box office was changed. This remodel started a five year run of prosperity from 2002 to 2007 where the Vine Cinema was a flourishing two screen family oriented first-run theatre, posting record attendance marks.
Competition hit the Livermore market in December of 2006, as a new 10 screen theatre (later to change to 13 screens) opened just .4 miles from the Vine. Because of the close proximity, studios would not let both cinemas play the same blockbuster films, and over time the Vine started getting shut out from playing the money making films.
In August of 2009 the Vine Cinema decided to make a change to Independent films. These smaller films often shown in theatres in Berkeley and San Francisco were not being shown in the Tri-Valley, and were a way to get out of the shadow of the close competition just down the street.
Just a month later in September of 2009, after a 10 month process, the Vine Cinema got its beer and wine license – a very difficult feat for a movie theatre in California. The “Alehouse” was then added to the name to show that beer, wine and food was now available at our movie theatre. Further renovations took place in the lobby, including adding our beautiful draft beer tower where eight “craft” beers are served daily. Along with the physical changes, the Vine Cinema & Alehouse was going through other changes; adding live, major sporting events where people could watch a crystal clear NFL game on a giant 30 foot screen – the largest sporting screen in the Bay Area!
Other great features were added the following year in 2010 like classics nights, wine nights, and Oscar & Super bowl parties. These changes all combined to make a movie theatre destination that is truly unique, in fact we like to call it, "Livermore’s Most Unique Experience!"
Finally, back in December of 2012, at the height of a major change in the motion picture industry, the Vine Cinema played its last 35mm film… AND WENT DIGITAL! Top of the line Christie digital theatre projectors were installed in the projection booth, marking the end of 35mm presentation at the Vine. This change ushered in a new era of crystal clear digital presentations, and assured that the Vine Cinema & Alehouse was going to stay around for another 50 years!