Given the cost of a film ticket, a cinema needs a wow factor
to justify the admission price. I’m a member of the grandiose and opulent
Picturehouse Central in Leicester Square and still wince at peak prices;
however, this is overlooked because the venue is utterly breath-taking. My
expectations are therefore great and summarised as: superlative handmade treats
(Crosstown donuts at the Picturehouse Central has ruined me); a casual but chic
bar or lounge; helpful and engaged staff; plush fittings and handsome
surroundings…And that’s just the non-negotiables.
I attended a screening of a documentary and live Q&A
session at the Curzon Bloomsbury in June 2016 and this was my first visit to
the venue formerly known as the Renoir. Billed as an arthouse cinema that
specialises in independent films and documentaries, our event was held in the Bertha
DocHouse located on the bottom floor. It’s a small but spacious bed of luxury: back
rows comprised couches for couples and- closer to the screen- there are single
reclining chairs. Ample legroom and convenient nest tables on armrests make the
experience very, very comfortable. There’s a small bar conveniently situated adjacent
to the screen serving a range of drinks- mixed or otherwise- that could be
brought into the cinema. It’s extremely civilised.
The setting was perfect for the Q&A in particular- obviously
designed for this purpose, there’s adequate space at the front of the room to
host the seated guests, but spectators are close enough that a microphone isn’t
strictly necessary (good acoustics too!). It’s both intimate and relaxed.
In general, my perception of the Curzon was that it was more
upscale than I expected- there are bars on the two lower floors that were
well-stocked and provide a sophisticated air and trendy ambiance. Staff were
immaculately presented and courteous- it felt like being in a swanky central
cocktail bar rather than a cinema on a Wednesday evening.
Very favourable impressions all around and another bonus:
the cinema is easily accessible, being a very short jaunt from the Russell
Square underground station. They have an excellent programme of upcoming
events, many of which include Q&A sessions, so I’ll certainly keep them in
mind for the next ground-breaking documentary.
At least the bar is welcoming,
because I usually need a stiff drink after anything too haunting or emotionally
A beautiful cozy art house cinema, with reclining comfortable seats, a lovely bar and funky toilets. Just a few minutes walk from Russell Square Tube Station and set in the Brunswick Centre, surrounded by lovely shops and restaurants. A great escape from generic cinema chains and the hustle and bustle of Central London.
What a wonderful cinema! The screens are huge, with only about 6 rows of seating so you're never too far from the screen. The chairs are wonderfully comfortable, with a reclining function. You can also get double seats which let you relax with your other half without an annoying armrest in the way. Tickets are a bit pricey but reasonable for the experience you get - no sticky floors, stunted view or tiny screen. Great for those occasional movies that you are really excited to see!
I very rarely go to arthouse cinemas but when I do, I remember how lovely they are. This Curzon is no exception. The Phoenix screen (where I watched an animated movie tonight) was compact to say the least. Only 28 seats for the whole cinema but, to be honest, the intimacy was fitting for the movie. The seats are remarkably comfortable and have a slight recline function. This can be a bit frustrating when you start to really relax into the chair and eventual notice that you're at a 45 degree angle and have to readjust.
The popcorn was great and they serve a decent menu of drinks. Ticket prices are a little steep but not remarkably expensive compared to larger chains and drinks and snacks for four (including two alcoholic drinks) was £20.
All in all, a great trip to the cinema. I would definitely recommend visiting but possibly not for an action or blockbuster film.