Vibes & Vices: Movie Night @ Rey de Oros

Rey de Oros, yet another translation I trust you to manage yourself, takes inspiration from its name from one of the traditional Tarot cards used by mystic soothsayers to peer into the futures of enchanted believers.

The card itself represents the rewarding aspects of maturity, including the good fortune gifted from experience and the invaluable resource of self-determination.

As it relates to the namesake establishment, while the bar does offer an array of delightful diversions including live music and pozole nights, you have to be a certain kind of person to attend a movie presentation at a bar on a school night. Predictably, I not only am this kind of person, but go out of my way to seek out same.

The Vibes: Rey de Oros is a fairly unremarkable little storefront unless you know what you’re looking for, so it’s easy to miss on a quick walk through the city’s Olimpica neighborhood. Still, the ability to detect value where it may not be immediately apparent is a central aspect of the wisdom the bar’s name is intended to reflect, so I feel as though it fits in a way.

Stepping inside to the spacious seating area around 7pm on a Tuesday, visitors will find an eclectic collection of decor including multicolored lights, various art pieces and a guitar rigged to glow from within. It was sort of like a larger version of where one might imagine I live.

Chatty couples and friendly loners were scattered around the common space, where small tables were pushed together into larger seating areas…the message is clear: this is a place for shared experience. I joined a couple of friendly faces I had seen around town, ordered myself a Vicky, and dug into the free popcorn as the double feature was set to begin.

As night fell over the colonia, the projection on the wall grew stronger as we gazed through the haze to collectively immerse ourselves into the unfolding evening. Definitely my kind of time.

The Vices: In previous weeks Rey de Oros had showcased Spanish-subtitled selections from the works of Monty Python to various 70s kung fu flicks.

This evening the first feature was Mel Brooks’ suspense satire  “High Anxiety,” a film I had never seen but that the snow-capped man of leisure sitting next to me was clearly very familiar with.

I hadn’t even seen any of the Hitchcock movies it was satirizing, but had sort of seen “The Birds” and “Psycho” through cultural osmosis, the same way everyone is familiar with Indiana Jones’ whole deal whether they’ve actully seen the series or not…he’s, like, the world’s toughest archaeologist or something, right?

Anyway, my new buddy was happy to offer the proper context where it was lacking…not that much was needed, I have a great appreciation for the sillier things in life.

During the movie I eventually got word that the kitchen was closed for the night, but was quickly offered a couple of tasty slices from the pizza the pair at the next table had ordered from someplace nearby. I can’t promise you the same outcome–you might be some kind of culero–but it does speak to the like-mindedness of the bar theater community.

Next up was “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” (the original, naturally). I’ve used this space to opine on Wonka in passing before, but in my opinion he is exactly the kind of complex genius sociopath that has driven the history of our species, and might deserve a little more scrutiny here.

First of all, let’s be honest: at least three of those five children died. You don’t just have your entire physical form filled up with blueberry juice and then go on to live a normal life.

Twisted visionary that he was, Willy Wonka tested each child with fulfillment of their fondest wishes, appealing directly to their visible weaknesses of to lure them to their unfettered fate. In this way, the film serves as an heady examination of freedom’s ultimate burden: sure, you can color outside the lines a bit if that’s what tickles you, but if you drown in a river of chocolate or shoot yourself with a demonstrated shrink ray, it’s your own damn fault, idiot.

Yes, I did share some of these observations with the class and indeed, was very proud of myself.

As the Wonkavator soared jerkily into the distance and the credits began to roll, I suddenly realized that I had a few more beers than I thought I had had, which I reckon is the point of keeping your bar clientele in one place for 90 minutes at a runtime. Floating toward the exit on a wave of “hasta luego,” I took my first look at the time in hours. It was after 11pm…a Tuesday night well wasted.

The Verdict: Rey de Oros is an inviting little public living room featuring a variety of fun activities for the drunk and drunk at heart. Tuesday night is movie night, and the event is a weekly reminder of entertainment’s human-bonding potential. Maybe I’ll catch you there.


Calle Sierra Aconcagua 150, Olímpica, 48310 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.

AJ Freeman on Email
AJ Freeman
AJ Freeman is an adventurous spirit, serial friendmaker, and general enthusiast. He lives his everyday life hoping to demonstrate the nearly infinite potential for discovery and wonder on this small wet rock orbiting a dim yellow star in the backwoods of the Milky Way.