Beginning in 1996, Oakland’s Parkway Speakeasy Theater was a staple of the Oakland community: the go-to place to grab a beer, grab a comfy couch, watch a movie, and chat with your friends. Unfortunately, Parkway owners Kyle and Catherine Fischer had to close the business in 2009 due to money problems and issues with the landlord.
J Moses Ceaser was one of many East Bay residents sad to see the Parkway go, and headed up an effort to bring it back. After a year’s worth of community meetings, business negotiations, and a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that exceeded its goal of $50,000, Moses and a group of 56 other investors opened the New Parkway Theater in December 2012 on 24th street in Oakland’s Uptown District.
The New Parkway Theater combines the beloved and unique elements of the old Parkway — the enjoyable combination of beer, pizza, and affordable movie watching on comfy couches — with a slicker ambience and a focus on accessibility and community-oriented programs. The New Parkway offers two screening rooms filled with loveseats, reclaimed vintage chairs, and other unique seating perfect for dates, group outings, and solo trips to the movies.
The New Parkway’s cafe menu includes not only typical pub fare, but a selection of entrees, appetizers, and treats to delight omnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free folks alike. The drink selection is expansive, and all beer and wine is sourced from within 200 miles.
The New Parkway is committed to prioritizing local vendors and promoting sustainable, green practices. For political, environmental, and health reasons, we do not serve food that contains high-fructose corn syrup, fully hydrogenated oils, or any palm oil products, and most of our foods are prepared entirely in our own commercial kitchen. Additionally, we strive to produce as little waste as possible – this is why we opt for cloth napkins and offer reusable metal straws for our milkshakes and smoothies.
Being accessible to and inclusive of various Oakland communities is an important tenant of the New Parkway Theater. The New Parkway’s commitment to community is evident in its Karma Cinema program: every Wednesday, patrons pay whatever they want for their movie tickets, and at the end of the month, 20% of Karma Cinema ticket sales are donated to the New Parkway’s community partner, a non-profit group that serves Oakland residents.
The New Parkway also brings back classic elements of the old Parkway, including Baby Brigade (early showings where parents can bring their babies without fear of judgement from baby-less patrons), Parkway Classics, Cult Nights, and Doc Nights, often showcasing local filmmakers and artists.
Each week, The New Parkway offers 10-15 different movies over 40+ screenings, yummy comfort food and drink, and community-building activities, and all at some of the Bay Area’s best prices. So come enjoy a movie while sitting on a couch, enjoying a freshly cooked meal, and washing it down with local wine, beer, or housemade sodas on tap.