Videology Bar & Cinema in Brooklyn closes after 15 years

Videology Bar & Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, showed its final screenings on Saturday.
Videology Bar & Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, showed its final screenings on Saturday. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images/Angela Weiss

One of Williamsburg’s cinephile havens has hit the stop button for the last time.

The owners of Videology Bar & Cinema at 308 Bedford Ave. closed the venue, known for its movie-themed parties, on Saturday, after its annual Halloween costume party and sold-out screenings of "Suspiria."

Unlike other mom-and-pop losses in the city, financial issues like rent spikes or building sales are not to blame for the DVD rental store and bar’s closure after 15 years, co-owner James Leet said. Rather, he and his partner, Wendy Chamberlain, decided it was time to go out on a high note.

The cozy screening area at Videology fills up on Saturday.
The cozy screening area at Videology fills up on Saturday. Photo Credit: Newsday /Howard Simmons

"We appreciate the loyalty and passion for film and the many friendships that we formed with our customers, but my partner and I feel it’s the right time to pursue other opportunities," Leet told amNewYork. 

Videology first opened as a video rental store in 2003, offering a wide selection of movies, from blockbusters to niche independent flicks. To compete with streaming media and other outlets, the store opened a bar and 40-seat screening room in 2012 that allowed viewers to eat and drink during movies. 

"They evolved with the times, but always kept it about the movies," Wendy Mays, who co-hosts Videology’s movie trivia nights, said in an email. "I think people respected it for that."

David Schwartz, chief curator of the Museum of the Moving Image, said the bar gave film fans a reason to get off their couch and watch movies together. 

"What was nice about Videology was that it was informal," he said. "Alamo [Drafthouse] is a big cineplex with escalators . . . but there is something nice about a local bar atmosphere."

Fans said Videology’s various events created a community. Scott Goldfarb, 29, a hospital administrative assistant from Flatbush, said he has made several close friendships going to Videology weekly for trivia nights.

"There is nothing like this in New York City," he said. "I’m still trying to figure out how we are all going to meet again."

Rachel Rath, an art teacher from DUMBO, also appreciated the sense of camaraderie.

“There is something fun going to a bar and watching your favorite movie and it’s everyone’s favorite movie," she said.  

Videology offered up a full bar.
Videology offered up a full bar. Photo Credit: Howard Simmons

Last year, Leet and Chamberlain filed a lawsuit against their building owner over allegations that the owner was filing false 311 complaints in an effort to break Videology’s lease. Leet said the landlord dispute was a misunderstanding and "not an issue anymore." 

Leet said he is appreciative of the outpouring of love from Videology’s fans on social media that quickly followed the closing announcement.

"We thank everybody for supporting us," he said. "We appreciate the great times."