A movie theater that shows independent or noncommercial or foreign films.

In the United States, most people like big, expensive movies with lots of explosions and violence. Any film that is made by people outside of the Hollywood production system, and that focuses on more subtle themes, tends to be called an 'art film'.
I love our local art house - it's the only place you can see the new existentialist thriller 'The Angry Clown'.
by VAKI5 May 10, 2005
A movie theater that generally shows films which are not considered main stream, often foreign or independent. They can often be identified by their self righteous clientele of movie snobs and alternative concessions items such as fine pastries and espresso (just in case the movie is really good). They are frequented by middle aged and old people under the recommendation of the local culture publication, in addition to hipsters, yuppies, goths, emo kids and any other branch of youth that adheres to a counter culture. The underlying implication here is that the low production values and unique storylines make for a rich movie going experience vastly superior to the packaged, stadium seated, blockbuster experience of major movie theaters. It is for this reason that these cinematic sanctuaries are distinguished as art houses. However the reality is that many of the films shown in these theaters have gotten little exposure for good reason...they suck. And these theaters serve the dual function of feeding the counter culturists' insatiable desire to wallow in all things independent and obscure while providing middle aged people with a non hostile alternative to the local megaplex.

A euphemism for a theater that shows gay porn.
Bill: So what are you up to tonight?
Steve: I'm going to see a French film at the art house.
Bill: (Takes a swig of beer) Art house! You fruity bitch call it a movie theater like the rest of us.
Steve: But that's what it's called an art hou...
Bill: (Bludgeons Steve with a cowboy boot caked in freshly dried cement)

Bill: So what are you up to tonight?
Steve: I'm going to see a gay porn at the art house.
Bill: (Takes a swig of beer) You wanna fuck?
Steve: Do I ever!
by Adam E. August 10, 2005