Harbor East Cinemas Now Fully Operational, With Hot Food Menu


Harbor East Cinemas now has a full-service entertainment venue and hot food menu—a first since its November reopening.

Though the entertainment space was completed in 2022, it’s now fully operational, explains Paul Wenger, president of Flagship Premium Cinemas, which assumed operations of the theater from Landmark Theater Group ahead of renovations and rebranding last year.

“We are excited to have now the operating capacity to realize use options for the lounge, such as speaker series, family-focus, live entertainment and multimedia trivia,” he says.

Harbor East Cinemas, located at 645 President St., in Harbor East, marks Flagship’s 17th location.

In addition to regular concession-style fare and a full bar, the theater also partnered with Lib’s Grill (locations in Perry Hall, Bel Air and Fulton) to provide four exclusive gourmet flatbread pizzas, as well as a rotating charcuterie option.

Movies are getting longer, more typically hitting the 3-hour mark or more, so heartier food options are important, says Ginny Lawhorn, special events coordinator for Harbor East Cinemas.

The Landmark theater opened in 2007 and closed in March 2020 with the city’s stay-in-place orders, says Lawhorn, also a former Landmark employee (and former contributor to Baltimore Style.)

Harbor East Management, as part of efforts to diversify its retail footprint, then sought out Flagship Cinema Group to manage and assume ownership of the theater, now called Harbor East Cinemas.

Other recent additions to the neighborhood include Brightside Boutique, an expanded Lululemon, Sephora, the revitalized James Joyce restaurant now managed by the Atlas Restaurant Group and a Chanel Beauty coming this fall.

To fit in with the new landscape, the theater was due for an upgrade.

“It was really in need of reclining seats, reupholstering. … The bar was reimagined,” Lawhorn says. “[Flagship] really invested heavily in space being incredibly welcoming post-COVID.”

That meant curating smaller, more intimate theaters with modern amenities, including heated recliners in six of the seven theaters and two 3D theaters.

Theater No. 2 holds the larger Presidential Lounge. The hybrid theater and event space has stadium seating for 145 people and, besides a movie screen, a stage and capacity for interactive audio visual that makes it “a really great compromise between a theater space and a lecture hall.”

Lawhorn says prices both for attendance and rentals will be more affordable than comparable independent venues because operations and amenities are built into a seven-day-per-week model.

The Flagship group plans to host speaker series, beginning with Aaron Dante, of the local culture and community-based podcast “No Pix After Dark,” projected for this August.

While other movie theaters have struggled (Cineworld Group PLC, which owns Regal Cinemas, filed for bankruptcy last year and COVID pushed many cinema releases onto streaming platforms) Lawhorn says so far Harbor East Cinemas has seen promising success.

Tentpole releases—blockbusters such as “Creed” and “Black Panther”—have drawn in crowds and allowed the theater to provide smaller arthouse films—”Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” and Timothee Chalamet’s “Bones and All.”

The draw of the modern movie theater now, Lawhorn says, is a pastime we weren’t all able to participate in consistently for the last few years: the community outing.

“I find movies very special because there aren’t many places that you can go—aside from art museums—culturally, there aren’t many places you can go on an afternoon and share an experience with strangers,” she says.

Lawhorn, who is also president of the board of Fells Point Main Street, hopes it will also encourage more time spent in Baltimore City. There are many walkable options in the harbor area, especially for families, with the National Aquarium, science center and Port Discovery Children’s Museum. Adding a movie theater into the mix helps make the trip sustainable for more than a few hours—especially on a rainy day.

“To have that opportunity to walk from Federal Hill, spend some time at Rash Field, then walk along the water and come to a movie and then be able to walk to get dinner—I just think that’s kind of some of the best elements of city living,” she adds.

For families, the theater does not limit access to children to specific times, and there are a few perks: $9 discounted tickets on Tuesdays and kids’ concessions value packs, both with a rewards membership. Theaters are also available for birthday party rentals.

Parking is available for those who are driving to the cinema. The ground floor opens to two garages, discounted with validation, from 650 S. Exeter St.

The next major film hitting theaters this Friday for both families and adults alike is “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. III.” Purchase tickets online at harboreastcinemas.com.

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