Every time we enter Deptford Cinema, we have to stop and rub the disbelief from our eyes. Can a place like this really exist? But the mirage hasn't evaporated yet so it must be real, and we thank the gods of the big screen every day that it is. Started by a group of volunteers a few years back - many of whom lived in the same building as the cinema - DC is still very much a community affair, completely not-for-profit and frequently hosting events outside the realm of cinema, such as activist meetings and life drawing classes. They show an eclectic mix of arthouse, foreign and documentary films, all chosen by volunteers or literally anyone who saddles up to the cinema with a programming suggestion. With tickets mostly six quid a pop, and cheap drinks aplenty, you could easily spend every weekend lost in this fairy-lit heaven.
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Screen on the Green
Opposite Islington Green and built in 1913, this place is one of the longest running cinemas in the UK. It's ornate facade is pretty eye catching with red and green neon and a huge board outside advertising what's going on, like they did it back in the good old days. Inside expect plush armchairs, popcorn and big-screen favourites from the past and present on their single screen.
The Lexi Cinema
‘I am a cinema. Love me.’ reads the front of the Lexi; endearing in its misplaced insecurity, we challenge anyone not to love this place. It’s a one-screen affair, with room for forty or so bums in what is a converted wing of Kensal Rise’s Constitutional Club. The vibe here - despite the weird, pink jellyfish-esque installation in the ceiling - is of being in a mate’s living room, one with a particularly good sound system and way too many chairs. But the homely vibe isn’t what secures this spot the title of ‘LDN’s most wholesome cinema’ – that accolade comes from the facts that 1) the place is run by volunteers, and 2) 100% of profits go to a children’s charity in South Africa – meaning your two hours of escapism comes with a large serving of good karma, which is much quieter than popcorn and won't get stuck in your teeth.
This Brixton institution is the UK's largest specialist independent cinema with five screens, two cafes and a bar. That's enough potential entertainment to give even the sternest of sorts a reason to bop on down. The building itself still has plenty of grandeur whilst inside it's a well put together programme of classics and current flicks.
Sure, the prices are kind of steep but this isn't the place for your weekly flick: this is the place for those push-the-boat-all-the-way-out-so-you-can't-even-see-land-anymore-type occasions. When you're seeking to woo someone/leave the dog house. There are 65 leather armchairs with footstools and side tables, 3 two-seater sofas and cashmere blankets; there are even six double beds at the front. This is something swish, something swanky and sometimes, you need a bit of that with your movie.