Review: Lido Theatre


3459 Via Lido (@ Newport Blvd)
Newport Beach, CA, 92663

The Lido Theatre was opened in 1938—and it has the old-fashioned ladies room parlor to prove it. Decked out with vintage stools, this beauty takes the place of what was originally meant to be the men’s room—all because Bette Davies, whose movie Jezebel was the first to show here, insisted that the ladies have a pretty place to smoke and gossip while they freshened up.

The theatre itself is equally “old Hollywood magic,” with rare, and beautifully restored, 1930s-era tiles Catalina Tile, and original poster cases that showcase period movie posters from the likes of Casablanca and Gone With the Wind. The spectacular Grand Marquee lights up the entire seat, the tiny box office is the original, and the Lido still dispenses real tickets (as opposed to dispensing computer-generated ones).

In short, whether you see the latest indy or a special showing of a surf film (located only a block from the ocean, the Lido has developed a reputation as something of a “surf film staple”), a visit to this magnificent spot is so much more than catching a movie. It hearkens back to the glamour days when going to the movies was a major outing. Bonus: Go on the weekends when local personality Jim Woodin introduces the films with trivia, tidbits, and prizes. (And get there early for a coveted balcony seat!)

General admission is $10.50, and a matinee is $8 on any day.

Read about more things to do in Newport Beach.

Take bus 1 to the Coast-Riverside stop, about a 10-minute walk from the theatre.