Criterion Theater

Criterion Theater, Bar Harbor: Address, Phone Number, Criterion Theater Reviews: 4.5/5

Criterion Theater
4.5
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Historic venue with live music, dance, comedy, theatre, movies and other events. Also, we used to have a speakeasy in our basement!
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2-3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

4.5
209 reviews
Excellent
156
Very good
32
Average
12
Poor
2
Terrible
7

MDIWoman
Bar Harbor, Maine, United States31 contributions
Friends
Visiting this theatre is like walking into a time machine of a past era. The art deco alone is worth the price of admission. Be sure to sit on the side aisle seats for the best unobstructed view. I thoroughly enjoyed the live performance by the Robinson Ballet. I like that the theatre is used for a mix of visual and musical arts: bands, movies, ballet, theater. The Theatre is a valuable asset to a small town.
Written January 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

JNYCwriter
New York City, NY6,856 contributions
Friends
Criterion Theater is a beautiful old theater in the heart of Bar Harbor. While it is closed during the pandemic, it is worth a visit and a place to enjoy a show. Spend some time looking at the detail in addition to whatever is playing.
Written August 16, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Brescian
Bar Harbor, Maine1 contribution
I live in Bar Harbor in the summers and love to go to the Criterion.
The other negative reviews had some legitimate and illegitimate points.

Just as the management stated in their response the theater was undergoing renovations in 2008 so there may have been some dust in the air (this will obviously not be the case forever).
However there is absolutely no asbestos in the theater as one reviewer stated ( by the way tripadvisor a statement like that is not an opinion and not a protected form of free speech and is in fact libel, which you make yourself a party to by continuing to post it).

One reviewer said the screen was small. I don't know what theater she was at because the screen is huge. It is much bigger than any other theater screen in all of Downeast Maine that I know of.

One reviewer complained that the movie was bad.
This is obviously not the fault of the theater.
They show many great movies and some bad ones but it really comes down to personal taste and you are responsible for what you choose to go see, not the theater.

I love to sit in the balcony and think it is worth the extra dollar.

The theater was recently purchased by a non-profit that is trying to make it into a cultural resource for the community so you can feel good about where your money is going.

The theater is an original art deco style theater and they are purposely restoring it in a way that maintains its character.
I think this is very charming but some of the other reviewers seemed put off that it did not look like a carbon copy of every other mall type theater they are probably used to attending.
As they say there is no accounting for taste (or the lack of it).

If you are concerned about there being dust in the theater or what size the screen is simply ask the attendant if you can take a quick look in the theater.
It would be best to do this when they are not super busy and I know from experience that they will oblige you.

The other theater in town is Reel Pizza and both of these theaters are two of the most unique and fun theaters I have ever been at.
In my opinion you will have a great time at either one. I would suggest trying both before you leave Bar Harbor (assuming there are some decent flicks).

I want to state that I am in no way affiliated with either theater and am simply a summer resident of the town,
Written March 10, 2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Eli M
Bar Harbor, Maine, United States2 contributions
Friends
In October of 2014 a nonprofit purchased and began to restore the building. It is now 100% mold free, has re-cushioned seats (with more leg room) and will show movies once again! Also offering an assortment of paninis, wraps, burritos, beer, and wine.
Written April 16, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Sarizona
Windsor, CT100 contributions
This was the very worst part of our Bar Harbor trip. It's probably the worst thing that I've experienced this summer, really.

My best friend and I saw that MAMA MIA was playing, and we still hadn't seen it yet. We decided to patronize this old-timey movie palace, and the ticket salesboy sold us our $8.50 balcony tickets. Now, we debated about spending the extra dollar to sit in the balcony. He assured us that the view was the same everywhere, but the balcony was well worth atleast three times that amount. The seats are better, there are tables, etc. OK! He seemed very passionate about his job.

The theater lobby looked dated, but maybe they wanted it that was for effect...? First I went to the bathroom. The entryway to the ladies room was full of junk! I even pulled my best friend in just to see, like, all the old dressers, mirrors, furniture of other sorts that they were storing in the bathroom. Ok...maybe they use it for special events they have...?

We then headed to our special balcony seats. When we got up there, the seats were disgusting and upholtered. I can't take that combinations. Then you KNOW they've NEVER been washed, instead of just having a feeling that they've never been washed. Plus, the screen was really small, and I didn't have my glasses. There's no way the view was going to be the same.

Oh well, we'll just get our dollars back and sit downstairs, right? WRONG! No refunds of any kind, EVER! Even though the movie hadn't started yet, and we weren't even asking for full refunds. Our choices were: "Go away, but we'll keep your money." or "Stay, and sit where ever you want, but we'll keep all your money." There wasn't even a manager on duty (all night) for us to talk to. The theater's just run by young children, like, 6 years old (essentially). The boy told us that even if there was a manager there, he's sure he would be backed up because "NO REFUNDS!" is a theater policy. What?? What are managers for if not overriding policy? I've never heard of such lunacy.

We didn't want to totally throw that money away, so we opted to sit downstairs. Well, it smelled TERRIBLE down there. I'm sure it was full of asbestos and mold. We really should have just cut our losses at this point, but we had paid, and we really wanted to see this movie. Instead, we stayed through the whole horrible ordeal and got black lung for our troubles. Also, the movie was bad.

Recommendations: See other movies in other theaters. See MAMA MIA on Broadway.
Written August 5, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
I'm sorry, to hear that this person had a lousy time in our theater. It is also unfortunate that this person did not find our balcony seats to be adequate. Our balcony seats are newer and offer more leg room than our orchestra seats and many of our customers enjoy having a direct view of the screen from these seats, rather than having to look up at it. There is a one dollar difference in the movie ticket price between the balcony and the orchestra seats. Just like almost any venue, after you have purchased your tickets, you may not exchange these tickets for any sort of refund, except in the case of a power outage or technical error. If you buy a balcony ticket and would rather sit downstairs, you are welcome to do so at no difference in the price. The Criterion Theatre is an Art Deco Theatre that was built in 1932 and has since been operating continuously as a movie theatre in addition to having live performances. For the past two years it has been operating under the guidance of a non-profit group which has the intention of restoring the theatre to the movie palace it once was. During the summer of 2008, the theatre has been undergoing lots of construction/renovations and therefore has had an increased amount of dust, debris, etc. throughout the theatre during the various stages of this work. We are working hard to keep this theatre going and greatly appreciate your support and feedback (positive or negative). We will use your suggestions to help guide us in our improvements. thank you -house manager ps- As house manager I only take one off night a week. Unfortunately it happened to be the night that this person attended the theatre and I apologize for not personally being able to help this customer out in any way that I could.
Written September 1, 2008
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

ETfromBoston
Boston, MA47 contributions
Friends
A unique concert that touched the audience whether they were dedicated jazz lovers or first timers to jazz. It was a great show, praised by all in a superb theater with great acoustics.
Written September 5, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Jim A
Portland, ME1,217 contributions
Couples
On a busy Memorial day weekend, the Criterion was looking very closed down. The cobwebs are setting in.
Written May 29, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Hi! I know this review is almost six years old, but I wanted to respond to say that we're open again! We went through a total renovation in 2014-15 and have been presenting live music and movies ever since. We hope you'll come by and see us again sometime!
Written March 1, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

amvq2015
Bangor, ME18 contributions
Friends
Tonight the Criterion Theater featured a brilliant performance by the Laszlo Gardony Trio. The music was comprised of both unique arrangements and original compositions by pianist Gardony. It was an excellent way of introducing the beautiful, newly restored 1932 theater to an even wider audience.
Written August 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Gary F
Maryland16 contributions
Family
How many of these do you get to experience or show your kids!
Saw Jurassic World and had a blast. Full bar. Can order dinner. Gotta try for balcony seats. Not many movies you can see from a balcony. Was there early enough to get a front row seat with a table. Kids loved it.
Screen not as big as what you are used to, but quite honestly, didnt need it.
Written June 27, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Joe E
Chicopee, Massachusetts, USA71 contributions
Family
The Criterion is a Bar Harbor landmark that recently went under some major renovations but still has a long way to go. It was closed last year and just re-opened to the public with a less than impressive welcome. The beauty of this place in in its history and its appointments. It's a rare thing to be able to sit in the balcony of a movie theater these days and even rarer to have a place to set down your snacks without huddling them in your lap for two hours. The Criterion offers both and they offer reasonably priced concessions - something you just don't see anymore. We got to see Dark Knight Rises the other night and got out of there for about $11 a person, including popcorn, soda and snacks. Tickets as of 8/2012 are $8 for everyone and for all shows. Not bad at all. They do need to do something about the projector since it doesn't perfectly align with the screen (it's probably been in the same place for fifty years) but I would assume, if the new owners are smart, they will invest in a digital projector and a sound system that takes full advantage of the Criterion's amazing acoustics when they make a little more money. This is where we come in: go to the Criterion. Make sure it stays open. It is a Bar Harbor icon and it deserves our patronage and our admiration.
Written August 19, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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