Cinema: The Gate
Price range: £14.50-ish peak, £11.50 off peak, £7.70 on a Monday. Membership is £62 which includes 4 free tickets, £2 off all other tickets and 10% off food and drink.
In my efforts to go to every cinema in London, I decided to book to go and see the recent National Theatre Live showing of ‘All My Sons’ at The Gate, the Picturehouse located in Notting Hill. This is technically the closest Picturehouse to my flat but this was my first visit, on a sunny Tuesday evening in May.
This is a really special cinema, dating back to 1861 – the sense of history is palpable upon entering the single screen. The Picturehouse events website gifts us with this absolutely glorious nugget of information: “The upper floors were used as a hotel, but the register shows that on one day alone, the 15 rooms had 150 gentlemen ‘guests’; in fact they were rented by the hour to ladies of dubious repute! Rest assured this lapse of morals is a thing of the past!” I love it.
As mentioned, this cinema only has the one screen, and what a screen it is. The Grade II listed plaster work glistens in gold overhead while you relax in a plush red seat, with the added touch of a small table between every couple of seats for resting your glass of wine on. The whole place exudes old school glamour, and I was more than happy to spend 3 hours here.
The few members of staff I did speak to were lovely, the audience were incredibly well behaved (I was the youngest person by an easy 30 years, which helps) and the whole experience was more than smooth running and relaxing.
This venue doesn’t have quite the same bar space that most other Picturehouse cinemas do, so I ended up going to sit in nearby Holland Park for a while before the screening started rather than hanging out there. The lobby area is quite small, but still has the relaxed yet civilised vibe that I associate so much with this cinema chain.
The toilet is right at the front of the screen, which means it’s a little irritating to watch everyone coming in and out of the door throughout the showing. Also, when I made use of the facilities before the play started, (what a horrible turn of phrase) I was surprised to find that the cubicle I was in was about 2 foot wide – though this made me laugh (internally, I was alone in a toilet) and only endeared me to this gem of a cinema further. The downsides of such an old building are inevitable.
I fully encourage you to relish in some old school film joy in this small but perfectly formed cinema in West London.