Consider yourself a bit of a film buff? We’ve rounded up the nine best independent cinemas in London that can’t be missed
Words Joy Montgomery
OLYMPIC STUDIOS, BARNES
Olympic studios is an early 20th centre building in Barnes which, after four years of closure, re-opened in October 2013. Now it houses the Olympic Studios cinema, featuring two screens that are lined with comfy, reclining seats and individual tables to hold your wine, coffee or popcorn. Don’t miss the venue’s award-winning cafe and dining room – perfect for a pre-film cocktail.
THE BFI, SOUTHBANK
Specialising in seasons of classic, independent and non-english films, the BFI Southbank is a must-visit destination for film buffs. Run by the British Film Institute, this independent cinema houses four screens and features plush red seating. If you’re lucky enough to be between the ages of 16 and 25 then you can pick up tickets on the door for just £3.
This two-screen arthouse cinema focuses on independent and foreign films. Featuring blue carpeted floors, velvet armchairs and private royal boxes, this 80-year old venue offers a truly glamorous film experience. After all, it hosts a dozen or so red carpet premieres each year.
ELECTRIC CINEMA, PORTOBELLO
Electric Cinema is one of the oldest working independent cinemas in the country, which underwent an extensive £2 million overhaul in 2001. When we say luxury, we mean luxury. Think red leather armchairs, footstools and double beds – yes that’s right. Check out the venue’s extensive offering of drinks and substantial snacks or the diner for pre-film all-American dining.
GREENWICH PICTUREHOUSE, GREENWICH
This small but cosy independent cinema boats a wide-range of popular and classic titles in the heart of bustling Greenwich. Perfect for a family day out – it’s right by Greenwich park and the Cutty Sark – the venue has a bar on the first floor stocked with locally brewed craft beer which you can try before you buy.
PECKHAM PLEX, PECKHAM
It might not be the most glamorous or luxurious offering out there, but by god is it the best value for money. The six screens deliver all the big blockbuster action, however this independent cinema has also committed to showing at least one independent, art-house or foreign language film a week. And did we mention that tickets are £4.99 all day, every day? You are most welcome.
PRINCE CHARLES CINEMA, LEICESTER SQUARE
40 metres North of Leicester Square, the Prince Charles Cinema is the last remaining independent cinema in the West End. Now the venue hosts everything from classic film screenings, blockbusters, events and retrospectives. Karaoke lovers should also not miss the sing-a-long sessions – evenings dedicated to dressing up and singing along to musical classics.
REGENT STREET CINEMA
This historic independent cinema underwent a monumental £6.1m restoration project, which was completed in 2015. It is now one of the few places in the country you can see 16mm and 35mm film, as well as the latest in 4K digital film. Alongside arthouse and world cinema, the decadent venue hosts double screenings during which food is laid to in the interval.
RIO CINEMA, DALSTON
Housed in a grade II listed Art Deco building, Dalston’s Rio Cinema has a history stretching back 100 years. The Rio is run as a not-for-profit charity and is London’s longest operating community cinema (nearly 40 years). They encourage local people to get involved by running affordable screenings for children and the over 50s, and a regular programme of educational school screenings. Local residents can also hire the independent cinema for events.