Foreign Cinema is a bona fide San Francisco dining institution. Nestled in the vibrant heart of the Mission District, it is the epitome of effortless cool. It’s absolutely a unique and memorable venue if you’re looking for a restaurant wedding venue.
You can tie the knot surrounded by enchanting ambiance, artistic flair, and world-class cuisine as well as your favorite movies. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing insider tips and essential details if you’re considering Foreign Cinema as the backdrop for your big day. Get ready to fall in love with all that this iconic spot has to offer as I also share photos from previous weddings we’ve photographed there!
As a wedding photographer, I find Foreign Cinema to be a visual delight. The indoor dining area boasts an inviting fireplace and open kitchen, adding character to the space. Their covered outdoor patio sets the scene for foreign and indie film screenings against a striking white wall backdrop.
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About Foreign Cinema for weddings
It was in 1999 that Foreign Cinema made its debut in San Francisco’s trendy Mission District. This unique spot combines California-Mediterranean culinary delights with the artistic vision of Chefs/Owners Gayle Pirie and John Clark.
Now, the establishment holds a place in many San Franciscans’ hearts. It attracts food lovers, film buffs, and local devotees with its winning combo of exceptional globally-inspired cuisine and diverse dining spaces. Weddings there exude the same modernist urban-chic vibe with a variety of spaces to choose from.
This venue is most commonly used for receptions (it makes a perfect pairing with San Francisco City Hall) but there are also ceremony add-ons available.
One of the biggest benefits of booking this fantastic restaurant is that food is front and center of the experience, never an afterthought. And what amazing food it is. Its incredible 5,000+ Yelp reviews attest to that.
The food is sustainably sourced, seasonal and organic – plus your wedding menu can be personalized. The restaurant menu itself is switched up daily based on the freshest produce, meats and seafood they can find. And, being a restaurant, there are of course no extras to rent like chairs, tables, table linens, glasses, plates etc (unless you wanted to upgrade your experience) – so you save a lot of money and stress there, too vs. dealing with a rental company and caterer.
This restaurant is truly a feast for all your senses! I can’t help but adore the stylish industrial ambiance of Foreign Cinema. The space manages to feel both cozy and lively. It would be a great choice for a wedding reception or even an all-in-one venue for your wedding day. Let’s dive into more of the specific areas.
Areas of Foreign Cinema for wedding rentals
Capacity: 18 seated
Type: Outdoor; private or semi-private depending on booking size
Availability: April to October
Features: Custom mural, designer floor tiles, cafe lighting and heating
Modernism West Gallery
Capacity: 60 seated, 100 standing
Size: 1,000 square feet
Type: Indoor; private
Features: Curated artwork, A/V system, built-in bar, tall ceilings, skylights and wall of windows
Capacity: 30 seated, 40 standing
Size: 400 square feet
Type: Indoor; semi-private
Features: Overlooks main dining room, exposed beams, concrete walls, wood floors
Capacity: 12 seated
Size: 150 square feet
Type: Indoor; semi-private
Features: View of nightly featured film in courtyard below, vintage 35mm projector nearby
Capacity: 60 standing reception / 100 for drinks only
Size: 700 square feet
Type: Indoor and outdoor; private or semi-private depending on booking size
Features: Full service DJ bar with lounge, custom-built banquettes, custom leather modular lounge seating, advanced sounds system, vast vinyl collection, sidewalk seating.
Capacity: 166 seated, 350 standing
Size: 5,000 square feet
Type: Entire space
Features: All features listed above plus outdoor heated courtyard, main dining room with fireplace, full bar, drive-in quality projection system for custom presentations or your desired feature film.
Note: gatherings of 61 seated guests or more require a restaurant buyout, which includes a variety of distinctive event spaces that are used in combination.
Shuttle or Uber is recommended for guests because of the lack of parking in the vicinity. If driving, the Mission Bartlett Garage is recommended. It’s about a 2-minute walk.
Modernism West Gallery wedding
Photography: Zoe Larkin Photography (associate photographer)
Planner: Mooi Weddings
Floral design: Wallflower
Dress: Sarah Seven
Photography: Zoe Larkin Photography
Floral design: Wallflower
Suit: Hall Madden
Amate Terrace wedding
Floral design: Ampersand
HMUA: Urban Beauty Loft
Dress: Jesus Peiro
Suit: Calvin Klein
Shoes: Bryr Clogs
This couple had their ceremony at Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands – check out the post below!
For more San Francisco wedding venues, check out my complete guide linked below!:
And for more Mission District locations to take photos for wedding or engagement, check out my hyperlocal guide below:
For more Mission District and similar wedding venues perfect for intimate weddings, check out the posts below:
Photos from Foreign Cinema wedding
About Zoe Larkin Photography
Looking for a San Francisco wedding photographer? You can learn more about our services at the links below:
I hope to be back at Foreign Cinema soon, shooting your lovely wedding reception!