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Port Theater Back from Dead

The iconic movie palace reopens, and new features are in the works.

The old saying "Good things come to those who wait" sprang to life Friday for CdM locals who have been patiently waiting for the Port Theater to reopen. After many years of boarded up walls and empty seats, returned from the dead with a glow. 

"Have you been inside yet?" one local excitedly asked as she left the theater Friday. "It is amazing, I love it!"

The revamped movie palace includes a glass front, a cafe that serves decadent pastries and specialty coffees, and an overall ambience that applies comfort and design like hot fudge to a sundae. And the cherry on top? Well, that's what the future holds, because as another old saying goes, "The best is yet to come". 

The theater features spacious rows of leather round-back seats on the bottom floor. The balcony will serve a twofold purpose, providing additional seating and a bar where people can gather, mingle and enjoy the film while sipping their pinot grigio. 

That's part of the future plan. A beer and wine license is in the works, as well as creative programming not offered anywhere in Orange County. The latter will also include children's movies. 

"This community needed a center to gather," said owner Fariborz Maseeh. "It didn't have an entertainment center. I thought it could be good not only for the residents to walk to but also for people to meet, a place to assemble and enjoy the films." 

The Port is already making friends with the community, opening its doors a day early on Thursday to sell discounted tickets to local residents. 

Regular pricing is $15 for adults ($8 for matinees), $4 for seniors and children. 

The single-screen theater shows three different movies daily. Currently playing: Bernie, which stars Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine, the documentary First Position and Safety Not Guaranteed. 

"We are having a soft opening right now," said Maseeh. "We will have a grand opening for the community soon." 

A lighted marquee will be installed in a few weeks. The owner also wants to restore the original projector and display it in the lobby with black-and-white photos that capture the history of the Port Theater. 

Other coming attractions include an expanded menu that features gourmet candy and popcorn, healthy sandwiches, salads, gourmet coffee and organic fruits. 

The theater is also available for private parties and corporate events. 

Carolyn Egar Christy July 23, 2012 at 02:41 AM
I've been PRAYING for The Port to re-open! Will be HUGE improvement to the whole coastal community! Try to preserve as much of it's original "Classic Feeling" as possible, please! I have started to spread the word already. Can't wait to see what you have in mind! Please keep me posted, and let us know if you need, or want, help. Sincerely, Carolyn Christy cechristy1@gmail.com
Jacob in Laguna July 23, 2012 at 05:36 PM
It sounds like a destination evening. What're the best parking opportunities?
Tiffany Carter July 26, 2012 at 04:36 PM
thanks JLS, actually that headline was done in editing, it wasn't my original headline :)
Tiffany Carter July 26, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Hey Jacob, at the moment, street parking is the best bet. The Union Bank parking lot which is adjacent to the theater is on watch by Port Restaurant. So maybe eat there ahead of time if you are going during non-bank hours. When I went there was plenty of street parking and this was on a Friday night. There are less seats than in a standard movie theater so I think parking will not be a problem. For now :)
Mandy July 26, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Bring back "Tiff on the Town" Patch!

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