Even in these modern times of instant HD streaming through platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, there’s still a feeling of going to the cinema that’s hard to match. There are a string of cinemas in London that have successfully managed to combine watching a movie on a comfy couch with the big screen experience.
So join us as we bring you a slice of cinema history via our favourite boutiques that are dotted all around the capital.
Everyman’s increase in popularity over the last five years has seen 20 venues spring up across the UK. However, it’s the Hampstead branch which is the focus of our attention. First opened in 1933, the cinema provides comfy couches to enjoy the movies and even has a food and drinks service delivered directly to your seat. Once you’ve finished watching a film, visit Spielburger, the movie-themed restaurant owned by Everyman located next door to the cinema.
First opened in 1911 under the name ‘the Electric Pavilion’, the Ritzy was the UK’s first ever purpose-built cinema. It was renovated in the 1950s and again in the 70s, while the 1980s saw it garner a reputation for having a left-wing agenda after it was used to hold several political meetings. Today, however, it’s a place where everyone can go to enjoy a movie, whether box office or art house. A music venue was even added upstairs in 2009, aptly called ‘Upstairs’.
The cinema first adopted the ‘Phoenix‘ moniker in 1975 when it was purchased and run by Contemporary films, but the building has been functioning as a picture house since 1912. In the year 2000, the building received a Grade II listed status thanks to its iconic settings which includes 1938 Mollo and Egan decorative wall panels. Today it shows a mixture of box office hits and niche art house films.
Ok, so we’re cheating a bit here as the Screen on the Green is also owned by Everyman. It is iconic in its own right, though, and is one of London’s most popular boutique cinemas. The single screen cinema is London’s oldest continuously running picture house and was built in 1913. The facade of the cinema is distinctive to the area of Islington, north London, adding to the artistic feel of the N1 postcode. It’s also well known for its ‘Midnight Special’ in 1975, where the Sex Pistols and The Clash performed at the venue.
Originally opened in 1910, Electric Cinema was closed in 1993 before being reopened in 2001. It’s now a Grade II listed building and is well known for the striking red sofas and beds that line the cinema room. There’s also an impressive sweet factory in the foyer where you can buy all the sugary delights you like. Films on show include a selection of box office favourites, avant-garde movies and independent flicks.
Often referred to as the birthplace of British cinema, the Regent Street Cinema has undergone refurbishment which features a jazzed up exterior, yet it has still kept its classic interior settings. There is a selection of movies on offer, from art house to world cinema showings.
The BFI Southbank screens over 2,000 movies a year and hosts BFI London film festival which is the UK’s largest public film event. There’s also a riverfront bar and kitchen serving delightful treats such as burgers and scampi. A movie followed by dinner overlooking the Thames – it doesn’t get much better than that.
November 25, 2016 rentonomy London Living