Cinema: The Castle
Price range: £10 normal price, £6 on a Monday. Membership is £29 which includes 2 free tickets, and discount on all other tickets.
Our once a month ‘Movie Monday’ club at work has a few issues: primarily being that I have a tendency to have seen every film that’s out already, or that the few I haven’t seen are only on at 9pm – as much as like my coworkers, I’m not sure any of us want to hang out together until midnight in Hackney on a school night.
At April’s Movie Monday outing we saw the trailer for Woman at War and decided it would be the perfect next pick for May, and I’d been looking forward to it ever since. So when the Hackney Picturehouse decided to do only weird late night showings, I performed a nearby cinema search and found out about The Castle Cinema, only a 20 minute walk away from the office. Joyful.
We headed over with plenty of time to spare to catch the 6.45pm screening, because another colleague had spent the afternoon enthusiastically describing how wonderful the bar is – and if there’s anything I’m intrigued by, it’s an enthusiastically described cinema bar.
It did not disappoint.
The Castle Cinema opened in 1913 and ran as a single screen venue until 1958. Just imagine how fucking glorious it would’ve been to experience it in that time. The team behind it now were helped with a Kickstarter campaign in 2016, and have since turned the venue in to the little slice of cinematic paradise in East London it is today.
When I had been creepily pouring over The Castle’s website before our trip there at work, I’d informed my colleague that I was worried the cinema bar looked so beautiful in the photos that it was going to make me cry. Dramatic? Yes. Wrong? No. Dear God this bar is so perfect. Intimate, relaxed, decorated absolutely perfectly – think lampshades, velvet, an old projector in one corner – it’s enough to make you want to quit your job and start a cinema.
The screen we were in is furnished with individual armchairs, which means you are a polite distance away from the people sat next to you – always something I appreciate in a cinema. The seats are also incredibly comfortable, and I found myself properly slouched down in mine but still managing to maintain a perfect view of the screen due to the tiering – every row is a step higher than the one in front, ensuring you get a clear view from any angle. Heaven! The arm chairs were a little shabby chic, but that just adds to the charm.
I think with cinemas the most important thing for me is the atmosphere you feel when you walk in (that’s really millennial isn’t it? I need a good VIBE ok?) and I fell in love with here from the get go. The staff were all lovely, there were loads of cute snarky signs for cocktails or cake, the crowd of people waiting to go in were relaxed and happy – and the tickets are so reasonably priced to boot. Because it was a Monday, our tickets were only £6.50, but even on a normal day they’re only £10 – substantially cheaper than most other cinemas in London, as depressing as that is.
It’s not in the best location ever, but it only takes about 10 minutes to walk back to Homerton station on the Overground. If you live in East London, there’s no excuse to not go here all the time – membership is only £29 which gives you discount on tickets and off the bar.
The drinks aren’t exactly a bargain, but you wouldn’t expect them to be. I paid £4.50 for a small glass of wine which now I think about it isn’t even that bad. Honestly there isn’t anything to slag The Castle off for, I’m really clutching at straws here.
You know those people that fall in love with objects and then get married to their cars or the pavement etc? Well that’s gonna be me and The Castle.