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Kentucky Drive-Ins n’ Dives

Thanks to the website designed by the web bros who brought you Space Jam, Drive In Movie, for all of their fantastic Kentucky drive-in deets (street slang for details) and trivia.

Check them out here.

Summer blockbuster season hath arrived rather unceremoniously with The opening of The Sony Had to Make This Movie Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield Are So Cute 2 last Friday to the tune of almost $92 million dollars here in the States; while that is a rather respectable amount of money to anyone not named Donald Sterling, it is $3 million less than the surprisingly successful (and good) Captain America sequel and figures to be far less than the Sam Raimi Spider-Man 2, which grossed $373,585,825 domestically–analysts are predicting a mere $230m for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 stateside.

Despite inflation, rising ticket prices, and GD3D (interpret that as you will), the domestic numbers are not adding up for the guys at Sony; international audiences are carrying this franchise.

Yet I must admit, despite Americans having reached a saturation point with the webslinging boy wonder, I have a special affinity for Spider-Man though and for the camp of another American treasure in particular–the drive-in. They go hand in hand for me. Why?

Well, I’m showing my…. age I suppose, but my first experience at a drive-in was a Kentucky’s oldest, Winchester’s own Sky-Vue theater, where I saw my first Spider-Man flick in the summer of 2002. Those were the daysssss. While yours may have been far cooler, such as seeing The Blob, Star Wars, war bond cartoons, or The Graduate, I still cherish that memory. Cherish. It.


A dying breed, the drive-in movie theater is the campiest, summeriest, Americaniest thing other than John Wayne eating McDonald’s while riding atop Richard Nixon. No… that doesn’t make sense.

The drive-in was supposedly invented by some guy in Camden, New Jersey not related to Chris Christie or Bruce Springsteen named Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. who naturally owned a chemical plant, like most New Jerseyans do, and set up some screens and a projector in the ole driveway in the summer of 1928. Pretty soon, it was a big neighborhood hit, and he eventually applied for a patent in 1933.

Yes, this is all from Wikipedia, of course it is. Wikipedia got me through college professors.

At the peak of its popularity in the late 50s and 60, there were around 4,000 drive-ins spread across the United States; today, there are about 357 still in operation.

But how many drive-ins can you visit here in the Bluegrass state? Well I thought you’d never ask.


Here in Kentucky, we are fortunate to have (possibly….) 16 drive-ins still open today. Let’s take a look.


Central Kentucky


Louisville (Jefferson County)

Kenwood Drive-in

located at 7001 Southside Drive


[ Update: ] This drive-in is closed. **that’s your cue Phil Collins

Mount Sterling (Montgomery County)

Judy Drive-in Theatre

4078 Maysville Road



Winchester (Clark County)

Sky Vue Twin Drive-In Theatre

Highway 60 South (10 miles east of Lexington)



Stanford (Lincoln County)

Stanford Drive-in

1645 Hustonville Rd (Hwy 78)



Eastern Kentucky


Jeremiah (Letcher County)

Route 7 Drive-in

Highway 7



Stanton (Powell County)

Mountain View Drive-in

1327 East College Avenue



Corbin (Whitley County)

Corbin Drive-in Theatre

Cumberland Falls Hwy (18th St.)



Western Kentucky


Beaver Dam (Ohio County)

Tri-City Drive-In KY

Hwy. 231 S.




Calvert City (Marshall County)

Calvert Drive-in

Highway 95 (1mi south of Hwy 62)


Hardinsburg (Breckinridge County)

Irvington Drive-in

Highway 60



Henderson (Henderson County)

Starlite Drive-in

Highway 60 East



Southern Kentucky? Sure why not!


Franklin (Simpson County)

Franklin Drive-in

6250 Nashville Rd – Highway 31 W.



Somerset (Pulaski County)

27 Twin Drive-in

Highway 27 South



Tompkinsville (Monroe)

Sky View Drive-in

1500 Celina Road (2mi south of town)



Most drive-ins are open only on weekends, many of these places don’t have websites, many of these places I didn’t check to see if they’re still in existence, etc. If they’re not–lemmmme know. And if I’m missing any drive-ins that you know of in our lovely Commonwealth, also, let me know!

Article written by Brennan English

Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. @BrennanKSR

5 Comments for Kentucky Drive-Ins n’ Dives

  1. TCurtis75
    10:22 am May 8, 2014 Permalink

    Unless it has closed within the last year, there is a drive in in Harrodsburg as well.

  2. Behind Enemy Lines
    2:52 pm May 8, 2014 Permalink

    I’m almost 30 and have a few GREAT memories from the Harrodsburg drive-in

    • Behind Enemy Lines
      2:53 pm May 8, 2014 Permalink

      Also, the Kenwood drive-in is closed.

    • Brennan English
      3:46 pm May 8, 2014 Permalink

      Thanks much! The only 3 I’ve seen with my own eyes are those in my area–Paris, Winchester, and Mt. Sterling. I will update the list.

  3. je
    8:22 am May 11, 2014 Permalink

    skyline drive in in Summersville ky