By Gia Gallone
The brand new Harbor Square Theatre in Stone Harbor isn’t just your average movie theatre. With four silver screens, a burger bar, craft beers, wine and more, this theatre puts a twist on your classic movie night out with the family.
Originally opened in June 1949 with one screen and seating for around 800 people, the theatre that sits on Stone Harbor’s well-known 96th Street has seen many years of transformation. Presently, the completely remodeled theatre boasts four silver screens with state-of-the-art stadium seating, a 7.1 surround sound system which compares to IMAX Theatres, and the biggest screen in South Jersey in its largest theatre, which seats about 260 people.
Clint, Brett and E.J. are the men running the show at Harbor Square Theatre. Although Clint is from Delaware, he fell in love with the charm of the Jersey Shore many years ago and has been trying to purchase property in the area ever since. His dream finally came true four years ago when he, his partner Scott and Scott’s father purchased the Stone Harbor Mall, and eventually the theatre. Brett, owner of Stone Harbor Bar & Grill just steps away from the theatre, runs the operations of the theatre while E.J. runs the Harbor Burger Bar inside the theatre. E.J. is also involved in restaurants on the Wildwoods Boardwalk including Capt’n Jack’s Island Grill and Stuart’s Root Beer. Together, the three of them have created an all-inclusive entertainment opportunity for the entire family.
When visiting the theatre, the first thing you’ll notice is the vintage neon sign hanging over the marquee. Designed and executed by Gregory T. and his team of Cape May County Signarama, the colorful sign has a retro 1940s feel to capture the essence of the original theatre. The sign and marquee were both specifically engineered to match the shape of the already existing arch and overhang, preserving the original architecture. The octagon clock in the center represents the theatre as being the “town square” of Stone Harbor, a perception that will resonate with both visitors and locals for decades to come. The LED and neon lights surely make a bright statement, tempting you inside.
When you step inside the theatre, you’ll find some nostalgia as the original art deco feel of the theatre is combined with a coastal beach vibe. To your left, you’ll see the beautiful Harbor Burger Bar, where you and your family can enjoy gourmet burgers and craft beers prior to the movie. If you prefer the classic movie goodies, walk farther into the theatre to the high-end concession stand serving popcorn, candy, soft drinks, pretzels and more.
At the Harbor Burger Bar’s concession stand on the opposite wall, nostalgia returns as you’re greeted by a bright red “HARBOR” sign, the original sign from the outside of the theatre in the 40s, refurbished by Signarama. Here, you can experience movie snacks in a whole new way and order appetizers, craft beers and wine to bring into the theatre with you.
As you walk through the lobby to find your designated theatre, you’ll get hit with a blast from the past as the walls are lined with lighted photos representing the over 100-year history of Stone Harbor, courtesy of the Stone Harbor Museum.
Although the theatre currently shows strictly first-run films, Clint, Brett and E.J. plan to add live shows to the mix in the future, adding to the already unique entertainment experience.
Show times and tickets are available online at www.harborsquaretheatre.com. Tickets are also available at www.fandango.com.
271 96th St., Stone Harbor
(609) 830-3566, www.harborsquaretheatre.com