From Starbucks to CineBistro - a week on the run

Another week of writing and blogging and grabbing coffees on the run is at an end. As is the case with most weeks, I've met some great people and failed to spend enough quality time with them. So I make few apologies for using an entry from my official blog here as the alternative would be a dull rant about house chores and a disorder I was recently diagnosed with that makes them potentially bad, if not fatal to my health.

My sneak peek of CineBistro in Hampton's Peninsula Town Center on Tuesday has been playing havoc with my long held perceptions of both movie theaters and bowling alleys.

Think the movies, think rushing into a dingy auditorium while the trailers are still playing, spilling popcorn on the greasy floor while half listening to a voiceover for Jimmy's Bail Bonds. The concessions stand is a hole in the wall in which a disaffected member of staff with holes in her teeth dispenses candy at exorbitant prices; the seats are cramped and inevitably the person in front is blocking out the movie with an inconsiderate hair style.

Think bowling alleys, think ripped seats and cigarette butts, think guys with sleeveless shirts and hair styles like Patrick Swayze in Road House, squaring up for a fight by the pool table. Think cheap red bowling shoes and coke in plastic cups.

CineBistro, which opened on Friday manages to fuse both elements along with dining in an upscale way.

For a start visitors approach this 48,000-square foot facility up a stairway that looks like it should lead to a luxury Vegas casino.

The eight movie theaters feature 40-inch leather seats and swing away dining tables. There are even double "love seats" up front to ensure amorous movie watchers don't need to skulk away on the rear seats.

The food being served is a cut above popcorn and candy. The menu includes Seared Ginger Sesame Tuna with a Salmon Spring Roll, Asian Slaw and Spicy Wasabi Sauce and Churrasco Steak and Frites, prepared by chefs who have been trained in Italy.

It comes at a price as do the cocktails at the designer bar. The bowling alley is described as "boutique" in the official publicity and it's certainly not like the kind of grubby lanes you find in small town America. There are no notices banning shirts without sleeves but bow ties are more in keeping with the ambiance of CineBistro.

A flavor of the experience is conveyed on the website which has photographs of women in cocktail dresses and a man in a suit standing outside a white limo.

Hampton will be entitled to think its limo has arrived when CineBistro opens its sumptuous doors on Friday.

It can only be hoped that the marketing people are right in supposing Hampton Roads can support such a venue because the only others are in Miami and Tampa, where there are surely more white tuxes per square mile.

I'll have to check out CineBistro now it's officially open but it won't be the same with the general public in there.

My work blog can be viewed at

Unlike this one it's official


  1. High brow bowling-not sure how I feel about that.


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