Cinema isn’t just about overpriced popcorn and screening the latest blockbusters. Across London independent cinemas offer an alternative night out that represents the very best of the arts, championing independent film with indie film screenings, niche events and film festivals. We’ve picked out five of the best independent cinemas across London, whether you want to cosy up with a classic film and a glass of wine or fancy an energetic sing-a-long.
Alongside screening the latest films for very reasonable prices, Genesis is a busy cultural hub in London’s East End, offering a range of indie events that caters to even the most niche of interests. A folk horror season, a pizza party for Ryan Gosling’s birthday and their regular feminist zine night Genesisters are just some of the highlights. Genesis also boasts a café and Bar Paragon, where you can catch classic screenings with a large selection of drinks on comfortable sofas.
93-95 Mile End Rd, London E1 4UJ
Image credit: Ewan Munro
Prince Charles Cinema
One of the last independent cinemas in London’s West End, The Prince Charles shows anything and everything. It also offers a more interactive cinema experience, whether you’re throwing spoons in their legendary screening of the worst film ever made The Room, singing along to The Sound of Music or quoting along to Christmas family favourite Elf, you are guaranteed to spend a unique and hilarious evening here.
7 Leicester Pl, London WC2H 7BY
Image credit: James Nash
The British Film Institute’s cinema on the Southbank screens some of the finest examples of cinema old and new. It’s the perfect destination for film buffs, with a regular programme of events on topics such as Existentialism in French Film Noir and Black Beauty in Cinema. Despite being located in the very heart of Central London, it even offers affordable ticket options, with £3 on the door ticket offers for young people.
Belvedere Rd, Lambeth, London SE1 8XT
The Phoenix Cinema
As one of the oldest cinemas in the UK, The Phoenix Cinema is the quintessential independent cinema. It’s one of the few venues where new releases almost seem to take a back seat, instead choosing to focus on screening live theatre, Q&As, documentaries and festivals such as the UK Jewish Film Festival and Film Africa. It also has a range of screenings to suit everyone, including relaxed screenings especially for those on the autism spectrum and dementia friendly screenings for those over 60.
The Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Rd, East Finchley, London N2 9PJ
Roxy Bar and Screen
If you’re not a fan of the typical cinema environment and popcorn just doesn’t do it for you, Roxy Bar and Screen shows classic, cult and independent films in a more relaxed bar environment, with cocktails, comfy sofas and a modern European menu (so burgers, bangers and mash). Upcoming highlights include the classic Breakfast at Tiffanys, Ghostbusters and The Jungle Book.