Sag Harbor Cinema has been a hub in the Hamptons community for more than a century. First starting out as a burlesque theater in the 1890s, it evolved into a theater where moviegoers could enjoy the cinema by the 1930s, and it has been in operation ever since.
This landmark in the heart of Sag Harbor was nearly destroyed in 2016 by a devastating fire that impacted several local businesses. A saving grace was that the symbolic art deco sign was salvaged from the fire. On the Cinema’s website they say, “Designed by renowned architect John Eberson—one of the great designers of atmospheric theaters—and beckoning moviegoers since the 1930s with its classic art deco neon sign, the original Sag Harbor Cinema stands as a symbol of the progression of 20th-century culture.”
After unparalleled fundraising efforts and support from the local community, the theater was able to begin rebuilding plans, which included demolishing the portion of the building that suffered severe damage. Once rebuilding was underway, there was much construction delay, and the pandemic delayed the reopening further. Highly anticipated, Sag Harbor Cinema officially reopened their new and improved three-story building in June 2021.
A theater that used to be two stories, the third story now operates as The Green Room, a bar for ticket holders and members. It’s a cozy and vibrant space that is open every night with specials, wine tastings, trivia nights, and intimate shows. The Green Room has added a unique vibe to the theater that didn’t exist before rebuilding, making it two different experiences in a sense.
According to The Green Room’s mission on the Cinema’s site, they say, “The Green Room is our take on the waiting lounge for actors. It is a space created to escape your daily performances, sit back and relax, enjoy delicious libations and the best views from atop Sag Harbor. Start every evening with soaking in the magnificent sunsets from the Truffaut Terrace.” These rooftop sights can’t be found anywhere else in the Hamptons, and they simply can’t be beat, creating an ambiance that adds to the experience when stopping in before or after a film! The third-floor spaces at the Cinema are even available to rent for special events.
The Sag Harbor Cinema theater itself is a state-of-the-art triplex. Their mission, as they state, is “to engage audiences and the community year-round through the dialog, discovery, and appreciation of the moving image—from blockbusters to student shorts, and everything in between.”
The Cinema has done just that for decades. They were one of the locations used for screening films from both the Hamptons Documentary Film Festival and the Hamptons International Film Festival this past year, as well as previous years. Both festivals are always highly anticipated Hamptons events and huge successes, showing many award-winning films.
The Sag Harbor Cinema also uniquely produces original content for viewing, a series called Cinema Minutes. Sag Harbor Cinema describes the purpose of this series as “sharing thematic collections of compelling movie scenes, and engaging conversations with prominent filmmakers, actors, writers, artists and critics from the East End and beyond.”
The always joyous and pulsating experience at the theater has become even grander with the expansions and new and exciting operations implemented. Viewers will continuously find entertainment with the ever-changing and diverse shows at the Sag Harbor Cinema. If you haven’t already, check out the new and improved building in Sag Harbor, maybe find a new favorite film, and soak in the ambiance that can’t be found anywhere other than the Hamptons!
Current movies playing and showtimes can be found on their website sagharborcinema.org.