Historic Tara Theatre reopens to public under new management

The historic Tara Theatre on Cheshire Bridge Road is back.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:10 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The historic Tara Theatre on Cheshire Bridge Road is back.

“There’s a tremendous gratitude and a tremendous relief that this is all coming together,” said co-owner Christopher Escobar.

The theatre held its grand re-opening today, nearly six months after its previous owner, Regal Entertainment, shut it down. A team of investors, led by Escobar, have spent months bringing the theatre back to life. Escobar also owns the Plaza Theatre, another arthouse staple in Atlanta.

“It’s still going to be an arthouse theatre,” Escobar said. “It’s still going to be that place where people can come see movies they might not see in other places.”

Few people are happier than Alton Brown.

“I’ve been coming here since before I was old enough to drive a car,” Brown said.

He remembers seeing 1982′s Blade Runner at The Tara as a child and still holds onto the idea that Rick Deckard is human.

“He was human, and I still think he’s human,” Brown said, referencing the plot of 2017′s Blade Runner 2049.

It’s also no surprise he’s also interested in the culinary aspects of The Tara.

“I’m really, really interested to see if they’ve changed the popcorn recipe at all,” he said. “I’m very sensitive to popcorn. My very first culinary job was popping popcorn for a 16-screen metroplex in Athens.”

Four films played on opening night: 1977′s Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope; 1963′s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World; 2022′s Tár; and 1989′s Back to the Future Part II, which Escobar believes is better than the original.

“Yeah, I do, haha,” he admitted.

And new management means a new line of soft drinks.

“I like to think we ended the blasphemous practice of not serving Coca-Cola in a historic Atlanta theatre,” Escobar said.

Some moviegoers are aiming for something a bit stronger.

“I was hoping to get a cocktail myself, but I’m not sure they’re available quite yet,” said moviegoer Neal Cohen.

But arthouse movies are back on the reel, putting the focus on the silver screen in a city where the cameras are constantly rolling.

“If we’re going to have a lot of people coming here to make movies, we ought to be coming to movies,” Brown said.