By Krystal Lambert
Ok so, full disclosure, I am 100% biased in favor of this glorious haven we have been gifted with and do not deserve.
I am also the full-time bar wench for Bookhouse, so you could argue it is in my best interest to give a rave review. However, I have never in my life been inspired to write a favorable review for my place of employment. Bookhouse Cinema is the exception, because it is exactly what a town like Joplin needs. A “third space” that isn’t just another restaurant or just another bar, but happens to offer a truly unique experience.
Holly and Brad Crane, the owners, had long discussed the concept of opening an art house-type cinema. These cinemas have been popping up in major cities for a while now and can be compared to The Moxie in Springfield. They typically show independent films, documentaries, cult favorites, foreign films, classic films, things you wouldn’t find at a big commercial movie theater like Northpark.
When the Cranes initially toured the space (715 E. Broadway, where Penny Pinchers used to be), they knew immediately it was the perfect place to bring their vision to life. I personally can’t imagine this building ever reached its true potential until it became the home of Bookhouse Cinema. It has a beautiful vintage bar, which was pulled from another building to be preserved many years ago. The pub/dining area is spacious enough for book clubs, board game clubs, or private parties.
The theater itself has 47 seats, which means there isn’t a bad seat in the house. It’s also really fun to watch a movie with other people in such an intimate setting. You hear every laugh and sigh and sniffle, which gives a subtle vibe of community. I watched the Ruth Bader Ginsberg Documentary at Bookhouse recently, and I had chills and teary eyes the entire time, and I could tell everyone around me did as well.
One of the best things about Bookhouse that cannot be praised enough is our amazing food. Everything is fresh, delicious, made to order, and much of it is very healthy as well. We have vegetarian and vegan options, gluten-free options, low-carb options…we can cater to most dietary needs while still serving delicious food. My current favorite menu items are the Cheeseboard, Lamb Sliders, Carne Asada Tacos, and the Pulled-Pork Apple Grilled Cheese. Side options include homemade potato chips, pesto pasta salad, chips and salsa, or apple radish slaw with jalapeno vinaigrette. The menu is never set in stone, so we can try out new recipes and keep things in season and interesting. All food and drinks are welcome in the theater as well! We try not to disturb the movie too much once it has started, so if you are interested in ordering food before the movie it’s always a good idea to give yourself a 20-30 minute window before the movie starts.
The bar is stocked with unique and thoughtful liquor choices, from vodka made in local distilleries to tequila made in Puerto Rico to help support Puerto Rican businesses. We also have several sour beers in cans, wine, craft beers on tap, and some fun cocktail choices. The concessions include popcorn and several different kinds of candy, fountain drinks, and we often have vegan dessert options as well.
The owners have tried to be very thoughtful of the environmental footprint their businesses have and provide things like biodegradable straws. Everything is designed to create the least amount of waste. Local artwork is displayed around the pub and is changed out every few months to support the local art scene. The general vibe at Bookhouse is a little more cultured and artsy than we are used to around here, but it’s also casual enough to stop in for dinner or a drink any night of the week. You don’t have to see a movie to come enjoy the space and the amazing food.
We have had overwhelmingly positive feedback from the Joplin community so it definitely feels like we are doing something right. If you haven’t had a chance to check Bookhouse out yet, grab a couple friends and come see us. I promise you will not be disappointed. We are open Wednesday through Sunday, showtimes and details are all available on Bookhousejoplin.com, or you can like us on Facebook and Instagram for more information.