Rio Cinema

Cinemas, Independent Stoke Newington
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(22user reviews)
213 Love It
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Rio Cinema
Alastair Wiper

This Dalston cinema opened as the Kingsland Empire in 1915 (although films were shown on the same site several years before in a converted shop). The venue was significantly changed in the 1930s and reopened as the Classic in 1937 – very similar to how it looks today. It became the Rio in 1976 and is now one of the few genuinely independent movie houses in London. A single-screen cinema with a grand, two-floor auditorium, the Rio shows mostly independent and foreign films, with a healthy sprinkling of double bills, classics and films for kids. The foyer is a compact but welcoming place to find food and drink before a film – although you might want to save yourself for one of Dalston’s Turkish restaurants.

Posted:

Venue name: Rio Cinema
Contact:
Address: 107 Kingsland High St
London
E8 2PY
Transport: Rail: Dalston Kingsland
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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:14
  • 4 star:6
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|22
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evanschris
Tastemaker

This cinema is a fun and interesting venue, and while I would defiantly recommend it and advise going here as an independent cinema over the bigger chains, I think it could defiantly do with a bit of a spruce up. The carpet felt and smelt like an old pub carpet and it would defiantly benefit from a good clean and a lick of paint throughout. While there are defiantly nicer independent cinemas, I would still recommend coming here. It has a great charm and I like how it only has one screen and while it has a fun retro feel, it has the retro cleanliness (or lack of) alongside it too!

Zach W

Loved this Cinema! Went for the first time last night to see Free Fire and a really awesome short film, Parallel Lives. The Cinema's retro look is so cool & the cafe serves really tasty snacks. Definitely intend to be a regular.

Neil K
Tastemaker

The Rio's a fantastic old school art deco cinema in the heart of Dalton, with a rich history stretching back over 100 years. It's recently undergone a revamp and is looking better than ever. It's a charming characterful place with friendly staff and also plays host to many interesting film linked events like Q&As and film festivals. If you aren't local it's well worth visiting on an Eastend jaunt, with central Dalston to explore right outside afterwards.




Lizzie W
Tastemaker

Rio Cinema is a locally run cinema just 5 minutes walk from Dalston Kingsland. From the outside it looks a little uninviting and blocky however the inside is a whole different story with leapord print carpets and a sweeping staircase. The 2 floor cinema is something entirely new to me (with balcony seating and stalls) and both levels which offer a fabulous view. The drinks and snacks selection is also much better than your chain cinema with amazing icecream sandwiches from Happy Endings in East London, local vegn cakes and beer, borough wines and delicious homemade cookies. With only one screen you can't be picky about times and films however I would definitely recommend if you live/are in the area.

MissLDN
Tastemaker

One thing that has always made travelling across the city worth the time are independent cinemas - the feeling you get when stepping into an art house that has been there for years and manage to survive without being bought by any of the cinema chains, which are not only expensive, but also lack charm and the experience.


Unfortunately my first visit to the Rio Cinema was cut short, as the cinema received a faulty film roll and therefore we were only able to watch the first 15 minutes of the movie.

The staff tried everything to make it work, but had to admit defeat in the end. Despite the fact that the movie had to be postponed I was not too upset - as the Rio itself is worth walking in to.


Ever since the Coronet cinema in Notting Hill shut its doors it has been hard to find charming independent cinemas adding more to the experience of watching a movie, especially now that Netflix and Amazon are part of our daily lives.


It is nice to be reminded, that movies used to be one of the more extravagant, exciting and rare experiences and spending two hours in a building that has not just yet been pulled from the ground, but has a history to it - sometimes helps to put our busy lives in perspective and realise how lucky we are.


I am glad that there a still lots of those places around London and hopefully they are not disappearing from the surface anytime soon.

Kritt N
Tastemaker

Rio Cinema in Dalston deserves to be mentioned among London’s unique and charming cinemas.


It’s unlike any cinema I’ve had the pleasure of sitting with its vintage charm and one screen offering.


A small independently community-run cinema, Rio Cinema is also one of the oldest cinemas in London having been in existence for more than 100 years. It has a cafe bar at fair prices too.


As you sit and wait for you film to start, 1930’s and 40’s music swings and sways you into a relaxed state. The decor of the auditorium resembles something you’d find in a West-End theatre than a cinema with plush red seats everywhere and dark wood which only adds to the charm of the place. There’s even a ‘grand circle’ in addition to the stall seats below. It’s like you’ve been transported back in time to the rip-roaring good times of post-war Britain. Even the cinema lights need to be flicked off by a staff member.


It’s the kind of cinema you see in those film when a couple is on a date.


What it lacks in modern design is more than made up but by its charm and history. I’m glad cinemas like this still exists in London. 

Jo Gowans
Tastemaker

Rio is a brilliant independently run local cinema, with a proper old theatre style screen - if you can, grab a seat at the front of the upper circle! I've seen obscure films shown late at night on Saturdays, National Theatre live screenings and most recently went for the opening night of La La Land, which was packed out. Next we've booked a subtitled showing of Japanese animation Your Name on a Sunday afternoon. There's a decent bar which is also one of the few places in the UK to serve Club-Mate. 

Andrew W

Great picture and sound, the latest indie movies and classic double bills on a Sunday, stunning 30's art deco auditorium compete with stalls and circle, friendly service and locally sourced beer, wine, coffee and cakes! also its one of London's last truly independent picture palaces.

Vieve W
Tastemaker

An oldie but goodie. That's what I felt when I went here for a 90s film night special! Before you even go in, you could tell this eas an eclectic and old cinema sitting in the heart of Dalston. We bought popcorn and drinks which were much more reasonably priced than your typical cinema experience. The screen room was, without a doubt, very very old and the whole interior reflected this. But once the screening started, it began to feel...comfortable, very comfortable actually! The legroom was more than spacious, the seats were comfortable and the screen itself was very big so no actual complaints! Boyz N The Hood was the film we chose to watch and with a showing at 11:30pm, it was definitely an interesting time to be hanging around in Dalston! My friend and I had a great night and would definitely visit this quirky old time cinema again!

Diana T
Tastemaker

I've walked by this place a million times and finally went in, and twice in one week! I love the way the theatre has been converted to their only screen. The cafe staff are super relaxed but also nice, instead of that "I don't give a fuck" attitude I've been seeing a lot lately. The food and drink is really affordable, but do have cash if you wish to spend less than £5. The movie tickets are a little pricey but if you join their mailing list you can find loads of ways to get a little discount. I would love to go here again, it makes you feel at home and everyone is treated nicely. I haven't checked out their bathrooms but I'm sure they're fine. 

Tom H

East London's loveliest cinema, totally lacking in the corporate grimness of Hackney Picturehouse. Friendly, reasonably priced and great programming. Stunning building, too.

Victoria B

My favorite cinema! Interesting and diverse selection of films and for a reasonable price (Monday's are only £6!). One of the last remaining truly independent cinemas.

Alanna S
Tastemaker

Amazing independent cinema. It's old school charm might not be to everyone's taste. The seats are a bit worn and tatty and the screen is certainly no I-max but for me that's part of the fun. There is only one screen but they show a good variety of films. Save your money and avoid the Popcorn, it can be a bit stale!

Sheila M

This cinema needs to be treasured as one of the crown jewels in London's gems. As one of the last standing truly independent cinemas in London, it has not only resisted the commercialisation and 'corporatisation' of the film industry in the UK, but continues to serve its local community with a really colourful and diverse array of art & foreign language films as well as the big blockbusters, and still manages to keep it all affordable. London would be culturally lacking without the Rio Cinema.

Fabrice B

Disagree. Very uncomfortable seats, smells of damp, needs a lick of paint. Was a member for a year purely to enjoy their Sunday double bills. The auditorium was always closed for no apparent reason (I suspect because it's just more work for staff and they can't be bothered). Like many venues in London that are automatically praised by hipsters for their "authenticity", it should be really judged for the poor state it's in and the obvious lack of care from management.

Gill ward

lovely, quaint. old style cinema with a fantastic range of old and new films for the young, old and just about anyone. it's a proper stalwart of Dalston. There's mother and baby film sessions. a cafe serving hot and cold drinks, snacks and cake. it's laid back, serious about film, gets along with business quietly, has interesting themes from time to time and is like cinema used to be, smell, feel and exist. Don't mess around with the chains, the Rio's a proper gem and long may she live.