London’s best independent cinemas
As concentration spans wither, more and more of us find it hard to sit through an entire film on our laptops without stopping to make tea, pop to the loo or reply to trivial text messages. It’s time to get back to the cinema. London has a wealth of glorious, independent theatres determined to regain your focus and tear you away from YouTube. In no particular order, here are a handful of treasures cinema’s mecca has to offer.
You always get the feeling you might see Quentin Tarantino at the Prince Charles, which makes the ticket price of £8 for a non-member wholly worth it. The Leicester Square side-street gem is possibly the perfect cinema. Obvious effort goes into keeping the programming varied: when all other cinemas in London are showing the same three films, you’re guaranteed to find something extra or old-school here.
7 Leicester Place, London, WC2H 7BY
A daytime coffee from the café at Brixton’s Ritzy is so strong it makes you tense for three hours at least. Fellow patrons at this south London institution are often of the grey-haired variety; they might laugh a bit too hard at the ads but cinephiles of a certain age tend to respect cinema etiquette exceptionally well, and are therefore the most desirable of companions. An agreeable little place, with a bar you might actually want to drink in and genuinely friendly staff.
Brixton Oval, Coldharbour Lane, London, SW2 1JG
There are a number of cinemas competing for the crown of cool – Peckhamplex isn’t one of them. But for £4.99 for any film at any time, who cares? Once you get past the aggressively pink foyer, the cinema itself is unaffected, comfy and competent. It does everything it’s supposed to. Really, you don’t need waiter service at the cinema.
95A Rye Lane, London, SE15 4ST
Now the hipsters have moved on to conquer new areas of London, Shoreditch is still a great place to go out…just with fewer jam jars. Betwixt the bars and slightly overpriced eateries, Rich Mix is a beacon of culture and far more than just a cinema. See a film but stay to grab Indian food from the Indi-Go café; find a low-lit corner on the mezzanine gallery and soak up whatever artistic delight this week has to offer. An adult, non-member will pay £10.50 for a cinema ticket, and considering everything else on offer that seems perfectly reasonable.
35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London, E1 6LA
Curzon must be applauded for reaching parts of London that other independent cinemas can’t, or won’t, venture into. Dotted around the city (and beyond), they are the stalwart and familiar friend of the independent scene. If you want to see this particular friend after 5pm you will pay £14.75 for the pleasure, so it pays to go early.
Various locations include: Soho, Mayfair, Chelsea, Victoria.