FilmBar brings cutting-edge entertainment to downtown Phoenix, ‘Circo’ awes

I’ve found my new favorite spot in downtown Phoenix. I’m bummed it took me so long to get there initially, but I’ll definitely be going back to FilmBar soon.

It’s one of the coolest places I’ve been to, both for the ambiance and the entertainment. It reminded me a little of a hookah lounge, but with the independent films it shows there, it has a cool distinctive edge.

Filmbar shows movies and features comedy shows (tickets are only $3-$7!) in a setting where you can drink beer or wine from the bar in the theater. While you wait for the film to start, you can sip your libation in one of the two lounge areas, which are decorated with Middle Eastern flair with tapestries hanging from the walls and cushy seats on the floor.

Both the person I went with and I also really thought the bathrooms, which were decorated in a similar style, looked super-cool.

I saw a really sad, but excellent, film there–Circo. (I wrote something on it for the Phoenix New Times here.) It was a documentary about a Mexican family running a countryside traveling circus. While the circus has been in the family for generations, the current ringmaster’s wife is not thrilled her four children are employees living out their childhood on the road.

The film is shot beautifully, and it’s fun to watch the circus action. It’s sad to see such hard work put into the struggling business, knowing there are richer people around the world who are much less deserving of their money. Tucson band Calexico provides the gorgeous score for the film, which made for a great back-drop. It was just really heartbreaking to see this family work so hard at a difficult-to-thrive business.

Filmbar has the Spike and Mike’s New Generation Animation Festival coming up July 7. I’ve seen a Spike and Mike production back in Flagstaff, and it consists of really cool adult animation–I want to check it out, and you should, too.

And Circo plays through July 6. You should make it a point to visit this very cool community-oriented space–they even let you in for free every fifth movie you see! For more info, check out