I’ve found such a fabulous movie theater treasure that I hesitate to share it. Given that much of the treasure chest is deep with wine, I do feel obliged to go public. Regency Directors Cut Cinema at Rancho Niguel in Laguna Niguel is my favorite movie haven amongst a world of theaters chock-full of mind-numbing superhero flicks, predictable animated movies, and expensive stale popcorn. Directors Cut has all the Oscar-nominated movies you want but can’t find at your local theater. It’s a tastefully remodeled theater with large comfy seats and—wait for it—a menu of 36 wines in addition to a food-and-beer menu.
In my recent foray to see “Hidden Figures,” I got in line at the wine-and-beer bar while my kids held seats and chowed their popcorn. While waiting, I noticed that several people had arrived early so they could grab a bite of food and savor a glass of wine together first. The lady in front of me ordered three glasses of chardonnay, and one staffer mentioned it would be more cost-effective to just order a bottle. The woman looked visibly excited that she could buy and take in a full bottle of wine to share with her friends who were already in the theater saving seats. I nearly high-fived her as I burst out in glee right along with her! I was impressed that I could choose from 19 whites and 17 reds either by the glass or bottle. Even more amazing is the opportunity to create your own wine-tasting experience. Just like at Hi-Times or OC Wine Mart, you can purchase a tasting card and choose for yourself a 1-, 3-, or 5-ounce pour of six white or six reds, with choices such as Justin Isosceles red blend, Groth cabernet, and Alpha Omega II chardonnay.
For my movie, I chose a glass of Crossing sauvignon blanc from New Zealand, which has a 90-point rating. I was so excited to sit in a movie theater with an actual glass of wine in plain sight, versus sneaking it into my kids water bottle and awkwardly taking glugs hoping no one was watching. After the movie, I noticed several people headed back to the wine bar as they chatted together about the film and which one they wanted to see next.
I was so giddy with the experience, I went the following weekend to see “Lion,” which I paired with a glass of Sacha Lichine rosé from the Languedoc region of France. My next outing is in about an hour to see “20th Century Women,” which I think deserves a glass of sparkling wine or a hearty cabernet—or both.
Regency Directors Cut Cinema at Rancho Niguel, 25471 Rancho Niguel Road, Laguna Niguel, 949-831-0446