North Miami Beach's Intracoastal Mall has reached a new level of swanky with the addition of an iPic Theaters location.
The Boca Raton-based theater chain recently opened its newest location Friday, December 4, and invited a few members of the media to experience the luxury amenities firsthand Tuesday night.
Conceptualized by owner and operator Hamid Hashemi, iPic Theaters strives to re-create the comfort of your home in a movie theater atmosphere — except this is probably a zillion times better than your lumpy old couch and ordinary stereo speakers. Does your living room have wide reclinable chairs, a crisp surround-sound system, food and drink service, and, best of all, no distractions? Yeah, we didn't think so.
There are two price levels for customers: premium, consisting of chaise-lounge-style seating for which guests order their food at the adult concession stand and take it inside with them; and premium plus, where guests can experience in-theater service throughout the film. No "last call for food and drink orders" 15 minutes prior to the film starting. The premium plus seats are equipped with a handy button to call for your server anytime. And there's no need to worry about anyone walking in front of you during the movie thanks to the way the seating is designed with islands and wide aisles.
The orange premium plus seats are fully reclinable and come with a small pillow and soft fleece blanket. Oh, and popcorn is included in the $28 ticket price. Ordinary premium seating costs $16 any day of the week, including weekends.
The selection of films is a mix of popular titles and those that cater to the market. But don't expect to see any slasher or horror flicks at iPic theaters, because, as Hashemi explains, they are not "designed for teenagers." Guests who come for the high-end experience prefer an atmosphere free of disruptions. Sorry, kids.
Hashemi says that in today's modern age, where movies — old and new — are available at our fingertips, it's up to the theaters to create an environment inviting enough to lure people out of the comfort of their homes. "We owe it to you to give you an over-the-top experience," he says. "If we're going to get you to come out and join us, we need to bring your living room into the theater."
If money were no object, this setup is what you would build in your own home to enjoy movies. But because you need to keep your billionaire status on the down-low, it's probably best not to spend money on an in-home theater when iPic is already standing.
Sure, the concept of dinner-and-a-movie is not really new, but one way Hashemi says iPic stands out from others is its emphasis on quality service. It's true — the employees are as friendly and inviting as the cast members at Disney World.
Aside from delivering a comfortable auditorium and a genial staff, Hashemi and his team spent a lot of time on the menu. Teaming with mixologist Adam Seger to create the perfect cocktails for the lobby's Tuck Room gastropub and chef Sherry Yard for the culinary delights, Hashemi has created a menu that reads better than those of most stand-alone restaurants and other dinner-and-a-movie chains like CineBistro at Dolphin Mall and Cinépolis in Coconut Grove. Moviegoers have options such as spicy tuna, charcuterie, house-made biscuits, beef tenderloin kebabs, and plenty of other mouth-watering choices. On the beverage side, Seger has concocted a mojito made with liquid-nitrogen-frozen mint leaves that are then turned into a pulp and used in the refreshing libation. A full wine list accompanies the selection of creative cocktails.
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Another impressive technology of iPic Theaters is that all locations are connected. Hashemi plans to conduct events with live Q&A sessions where actors and filmmakers sit in one of iPic's Los Angeles locations and guests are seated on the other side of the country tuning in and participating. Their large screens have also been used for videogame competitions in which tech-savvy nerds can compete against others in the auditorium.
As if screening movies, Q&A sessions with film talent, and videogame tournaments weren't enough, iPic is adding sports to the mix. Hashemi says the company already has the rights to broadcast soccer matches, so as the season picks up, iPic might just take the place of your neighborhood sports bar.
The North Miami Beach location also features original artwork by Peter Tunney throughout the corridors. Clearly taking inspiration from the movies, Tunney created prints that include phrases such as "forever young," "marvelous fantasy," "the time is always now," and "you're not in Kansas anymore" formed with images of famous actors and well-known film stills.
The North Miami Beach location is now open at the Intracoastal Mall, 3733 NE 163rd St., North Miami Beach. Visit ipictheaters.com or the iPic Theaters phone app for a full schedule of films and tickets.