London's best DVD shops

Old-fashioned browsing for DVDs is far more satisfying than internet shopping. David Jenkins rounds up London’s finest film stores

London's best DVD shops
Spinal trap: there are always bargains to be found in smaller DVD outlets

Best for exports

The Cinema Store is still a hub for those wanting to get their mitts on Criterion edition DVDs, new-release foreign imports and hard-to-find box sets. A dream for film lovers with a bit of pocket money to spend. Cinema Store, Unit 4b, Orion House, Upper Saint Martin’s Lane, WC2 (020 7379 7838) Leicester Square tube.

Best for artists’ film

Hang a sharp right at the main entrance of the ICA and you’ll hit their shop, which sells all manner of books, mags and a decent selection of artists’ film on DVD and VHS. The Tate and Serpentine also have selections in their shops, and you can also pick up some of the more esoteric stuff at Dalston’s Lux gallery.ICA, The Mall, SW1 (020 7930 0493) Charing Cross tube/rail.
LUX, third floor, 18 Shacklewell Lane, E8 (020 7503 3980) Old St tube/rail.

Best for world cinema

Situated in the main atrium of BFI Southbank is their Filmstore. Among the shelves of books is a very decent selection of DVDs. The shop is especially good for modern British cinema. Foyles on Charing Cross Road also complement their fine film books section with DVDs. BFI Southbank, Belverdere Rd, SE1 (020 7928 3232) Waterloo tube/rail.
Foyles, 113-119 Charing Cross Rd, WC2 (020 7437 5660) Leicester Square tube.

Best for secondhand

For those who don’t mind a tattered casing or the odd scuff on the disc, Computer Exchange and Stage & Screen in Notting Hill Gate (and Berwick Street) have a wide selection of secondhand DVDs. Beanos in Croydon (recently saved from closure thanks to public support) is also a great place to pick up a bargain CD or DVD in the ’burbs. CEX, 32 Rathbone Place, W1 (020 7636 2666) Tottenham Court Rd tube.
Stage & Screen, 40 Notting Hill Gate, W11 (020 7460 6716) Notting Hill Gate tube.
Beanos, Middle St, Croydon (020 8680 1202) East Croydon rail.

Best for cheap (new) DVDs

We wept salty tears when the big Fopp on Tottenham Court Road closed its doors, but the original London store (based in Covent Garden) is still open for business. Most DVDs are either £5 or £10, making it hazardously easy for an impulse buy to develop into a binge.Fopp, 1 Earlham St, WC2 (020 7379 0883) Leicester Square tube.

Best for oldies

Lovejoys has a very decent range of rare golden oldies, musicals, films noirs and a wide variety of studio films among the racks of secondhand books. Oh, and there’s a sex-film emporium in the back. Lovejoys, 99a Charing Cross Rd, WC2 (020 7437 1988) Leicester Square tube.

Best for selection

They may be overcrowded and unwieldy, but you can’t knock the megastores (HMV and the quaintly named Zavvi) for choice. Usually, if something has been released on DVD, they’ll have a copy tucked away on one of their vast aisles. Also great for discount box sets. HMV, 150 Oxford St, W1 (020 7631 3423) Oxford Circus tube.
Zavvi, 14-16 , Oxford St, W1 (020 7631 1234) Tottenham Court Rd tube.

Best charity shop

Most charity shops in London will have the odd DVD knocking about, but Help the Aged in Walthamstow has a good range, as does the Cancer Research UK shop in Islington and Oxfam on Drury Lane.Help the Aged, 36-44 High St, E17 (020 8520 9462) Walthomstow Central tube.
Oxfam, 23 Drury Lane, WC2 (020 7240 3769) Covent Garden tube.
Cancer Research UK, 34 Upper St, N1 (020 7226 8951) Angel tube.

Best for music DVDs

If there’s a concert film or music promo compilation you can’t find in one of the bigger stores, you may want to head to the big Rough Trade East record shop in Brick Lane. Sister Ray – one of the last decent record shops on Berwick Street, has some good (cheap) discs alongside films and TV shows.RTE, Dray Walk, Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, E1 (020 7392 7788) Liverpool St tube/rail.
Sister Ray, 34-35 Berwick St, W1 (020 7734 3297) Tottenham Court Rd tube.

Best for classical music DVDs

MDC Music & Video on the South Bank is a dangerous place to go after few drinks in the BFI bar, as they have a variety of world cinema as well as lots of classical and jazz films. London stalwart Gramex also has a range of classical DVDs to accompany a world-beating range of CDs and vinyl. MDC, Royal Festival Hall, 25 Lower Marsh, SE1 (020 7620 0198) Waterloo tube/rail.
Gramex, 25 Lower Marsh, SE1 (020 7401 3830) Waterloo tube/rail.

Best for rentals

London has some great independent DVD rental shops. The best is The Film Shop (two locations), which has friendly staff and an extensive selection of mainstream and arthouse fare. Today is Boring on Kingsland Road is very decent, as is Close-Up on Brick Lane. Also, to complement its fine array of discs, Archway Video has a neat system of staff picks – if a disc has a flower sticker on the front, it’s been given the thumbs up. The Film Shop, 177 Stoke Newington Church St, N16 (020 72491762) Highbury & Islington tube.
The Film Shop, 239 Liverpool Rd, N1 (020 7700 7170) Angel tube.
Close-Up, 139 Brick Lane, E1 (020 7739 3634) Old Street tube/rail.
Today is Boring, 15 Kingsland Rd, E2 (020 7684 1461) Old Street tube/rail.
Archway Video, 220 Archway Rd, N6 (020 8340 2986) Highgate tube/rail.

Author: David Jenkins





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