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The Inwood Theatre, originally owned and operated by the Texas based Interstate Amusement Company, opened in May of 1947 featuring an Art Moderne Decor, terrazzo marble and a stainless steel decorated lobby. The theater opened with great success, quickly being recognized as the most “modern and well-appointed theatre in Dallas at the time”. The theater began experiencing significant decline throughout the 1960’s and 70’s followed by a devastating fire in 1980 causing it to close for a year. In 1981, the Inwood Theatre reopened with a third auditorium added to the old balcony area.

Architexas - Inwood theater - lounge - historic photo - 1950

Architexas - Inwood Theater - lounge - dallas

In an attempt to revitalize rapidly declining ticket sales, the theatre owners introduced the idea of incorporating a full bar into the lobby of the theatre. The challenge was to adhere to the Texas Liquor Laws (TABC) which at the time did not allow liquor sales in movie theaters. Architexas worked with the owners and successful restaurateur, Theresa Alexander, on developing a design that provided a full bar in the historic lobby, allowing it to attract patrons separate from the average movie-goer. The design team was able to reach a compromise that met the prohibition on selling liquor in the theater by creating a separate entrance to the bar from the street and an elegant partition formed by a 7-foot glass block wall in a compatible art moderne design separating the movie theatre lobby from the bar.

Architexas - Inwood theater - lounge - dallas (3)

Unique design features reminiscent of its start can still be found in the Lounge today, including the rose-colored neon, porthole windows, and the waterfall feature that cascades down beneath the curved glass block wall. Even the original marine murals, typical of Interstate Theaters from that time, remain. The Lounge has continued to operate successfully for more than 3 decades, being featured in Esquire Magazine, Dallas Morning News, Texas Architect, D Magazine and the Observer for its design, style and (of course) signature martini.

Architexas - Inwood Theater - lounge - dallas (2)

Architexas - inwood theater - lounge - dallas - marine murals

Architexas - Inwood Theater - lounge - dallas

While the movie going experience and the TABC laws have changed significantly since 1984, and a creative partition is no longer needed to separate the lobby from the pouring of cocktails, the glass block wall has been preserved. Few have managed to create a unique presence and experience quite like that of the Lounge at the Inwood Theatre.