The filmmaker and fashion designer Alex Olch opened Metrograph, a movie theater on New York’s Lower East Side, earlier this spring as a sanctum for cinephiles like himself. “I grew up going to the Beekman, and the Plaza, and the Ziegfeld—all of which are gone now,” he said. “That theater-going experience was one of the things that made me fall in love with movies.”
And indeed Olch’s two-screen arthouse cinema, which plays a brilliantly curated array of old, new, obscure, and mainstream fare—from Chelsea Girls to Magic Mike—has been attracting film buffs like Jim Jarmusch, John Waters, and Spike Lee since day one. Yet with the opening last weekend of The Commissary, an elegantly low-key mezzanine restaurant with a menu modeled after Hollywood’s old film studio cafeterias, Metrograph has also become a nightly hotspot for the fashion set. On a recent Wednesday evening, for instance, fashion muse Annabelle Dexter-Jones and photographer Theo Wenner were seen deliberating over snacks at the concession stand, while upstairs the stylist Jeanann Williams lingered over dinner with friends.
“We get a pretty young and chic crowd,” said Olch. “I wasn’t necessarily sure that would happen.” Beyond the restaurant—which for now serves dinner, but will soon offer breakfast and a “writer’s menu,” or food one can eat with one hand, for lunch—Olch has also installed two bars and a bookstore. The latter is stocked with a remarkable selection of rare film reads curated by independent dealer Arthur Fournier.
“It’s the marriage of cinema and design, the two things I love the most,” said Olch. “It’s basically my dream environment.” Ours, too.
Marquee with custom-design art deco typeface.
Free and easy. Entree to a movie, however, will cost you $15. Buy ahead of time to pre-select seats.
Film directors, fashion designers, models, musicians, artists, It girls, and—when film premieres take over the place—movie stars.
Sofia Coppola, Tom Sachs, Guy Talese, Julian and Stella Schnabel, Irina Shayk, Eddie Borgo, Willem Dafoe.
Elevated classics like a Waldorf salad and steak frites at The Commissary; fancy snacks like imported chocolates, artisanal popcorn, and Liquiteria cold-pressed juices at the concession stand.
7 Ludlow Street; metrograph.com.
Watch W's most popular videos here: