Marianna Hunt

Retro cinemas that every film fan will love

  • From Spectator Life
Image: Everyman Bristol

The new James Bond, the much anticipated sequel to A Quiet Place and an adaptation of sci-fi epic Dune: the list of blockbuster films due to be released in 2021 is both star-studded and long overdue.

As cinemas prepare to reopen from 17 May, we take a look at Britain’s most unique picture houses.

TT Liquor, London


Behind the vintage frontage of this liquor store in Shoreditch is a stylish underground cocktail bar hiding a secret. A concealed door leads to a boutique 52-seat screening room showing cinematic classics from Lost In Translation to The Godfather.

For each screening, the bar’s expert mixologists craft a special cocktail inspired by the film. The bar itself is part-temple, part-library of spirits with floor-to-ceiling bookcases filled with bottles and ladders lining the shelves. Tickets cost around £15 per person, with a complimentary cocktail and popcorn included.

Cocktail masterclasses are also available to book. The liquor store-cum-cinema is housed inside a converted Victorian police station.

The Rex, Berkhamsted


A small town in the Chilterns is not where you expect to find one of the UK’s most beautiful cinemas. But there it is nonetheless.

A glorious frenzy of 1930s art deco style, the main screening room has an ornately carved plasterwork arch and thick, padded walls with rippling lines of lights concealed behind scallop shells. The front stalls have been replaced by sociable tables and clusters of red chairs, in the style of a cabaret club, where guests can enjoy a glass of wine from the extensive bar menu or some snacks.

After 50 years of service, the cinema closed in 1988 and lay derelict for years. It was restored and reopened in 2004 after a campaign by a local entrepreneur. It is now Grade-II listed and shows both old favourites and new releases.


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