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.
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ArtHouse Crouch End
A few years back, some adventurous locals spotted an old Salvation Army quarters lying dormant and decided to give it a lil' makeover. The result is ArtHouse Crouch End, a communal art hub that puts on all sorts across their two screens including recent releases, live streams of NT productions, music, discussions, dance and comedy. It's all things to all CrouchEnders, a real local hero.
Prince Charles Cinema
Formerly a porn hub, Prince Charles has cleaned up its act since then and is now probably the funnest spot to take in a film. It's loved by film buffs for a super eclectic programme featuring double bills, cult-classics, foreign film, sing alongs, all-nighters and art house flicks as well as current releases. Situated amidst the tourist trappings of Leicester Square, they've got two screens: an upper one with excellent seats showing new films and a downstairs original theatre showing older stuff. Audience participation is also encouraged at this place, so keep an ear out for that and maybe even join in. During the day, tickets are as cheap as chips. If you get your chips for about a fiver, in which case you're probably paying over the odds.
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.
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.