7611 Fay Avenue, La Jolla
“Today, you can watch a movie in a ton of different places,” acknowledges Adolfo Fastlicht, owner of the LOT, a new premium entertainment and dining venue on La Jolla’s Fay Avenue. “Many people don’t mind waiting until after the theatrical release and watching a film in a non-theater environment. We believe the LOT is a way to actually lure people back.”
Fastlicht’s idea is to offer the cultural opposite of flopping down on your couch in your sweats and eating a pint of ice cream straight from the carton while perusing Netflix. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) He wants to make the moviegoing experience special, and even more importantly, social. That’s why the LOT’s theater is just one part of the operation, which also includes a café, a bar, and a full-service restaurant. Each is designed and outfitted to serve as a standalone destination for La Jolla’s upscale-casual demographic but also to provide a full-service night out: dinner and a movie and a drink afterwards, all in one lovely location. (Fastlicht might call it an integrated, curated lifestyle experience.) “It’s not unlike the idea behind many boutique hotels, where you have a killer spa, a great restaurant, a great bar, and then the hotel part as well.”
“It’s 100 percent about social interaction, a place for people who want to get out of the house,” continues Fastlicht. “We want to be a community hub in the middle of the Village, to offer a social experience.” Also, a sharable one. “People want to know where people are, what they’re doing, who they’re with, what they’re eating and drinking.” If he can connect a night at the movies with the worlds of Facebook and Instagram, that will go a long way toward getting people back in front of the big screen.
Fastlicht’s nearly 30-year career in film exhibition has been a sort of run-up to The LOT. Most recently, “we conceived, created, and developed the Cinepolis luxury cinema projects here in San Diego. But with this iteration, we’ve elevated the standard” to include separate chefs for kitchen and pastry, local sources for beer and coffee, and site-specific design.
“Our La Jolla location incorporates a lot of outdoor space. We have outdoor cafe seating, an outdoor trellis, street-type seating for dining, and our restaurant opens up completely to the outside. And given the eclectic nature and sophistication of La Jolla, our paintings and sculptures will be significant works that speak to our commitment to and support of the arts. It’s not your traditional movie theater with Cinderella posters and dark corridors that smell of popcorn. We want to strive to be a destination that is sought by different people for different reasons. For some, we’ll be a daily coffee stop. For others, maybe a lunch destination. Some will walk here to grab a drink after work, or dinner, or a movie.”