Backyard Cinema – LA Nights review: Frozen cocktails and palm trees as you watch your favourite movie at the beach
After returning from my holiday to Italy last month and being well and truly back in the daily grind of work and commuting, a little bit of beach action would be lovely right now. I was especially tempted by Backyard Cinema’s latest immersive film experience so went along to check it out this week. Having launched at the Camden Roundhouse last month, Backyard Cinema’s LA Nights is running for a limited time only.
If you’re unaware, Backyard Cinema is a themed, pop-up cinema company which hosts immersive screenings at special locations around London. They have given film fans the chance to roam the Lost World, get lost in a Labyrinth, be roused by a live choir in a church and fly with the Snowman, among their many other creative themes. For five weeks only, the BC posse have transformed the roof of iconic north London venue Roundhouse into a slice of sunny Venice Beach.
Guests enter through the Roundhouse itself and climb the stairs to the roof. It isn’t long before you are taken on a trail, with lots of neon, weatherboard beach signs, fairy lights and a pair of Instagrammable angel wings to pose against. The screening room is ‘the beach’, with golden sand, palm trees and plenty of comfortable beanbags. The space is fortunately covered over so you don’t need to worry about the temperamental British summer.
After selecting our seats, my sister and I headed straight to the bar to sort out our refreshments. A special drinks menu has been curated to complement the theme, with adults-only Slush Puppie cocktails, tropical cocktails and its own beer created by the Gipsy Hill Brewing Company. We were particularly drawn to the palm tree glasses so started with some Passion Fruit Martini, which were very fruity, but a little boozy. After collecting our drinks and snacks (there is a vegan ice cream stand, which proved popular), we were suitably put in the retro mood with lots of classic Californian and retro tracks keeping us entertained before the movie kicked off.
On the night of our visit, we watched an old ’90s favourite 10 Things I Hate About You, starring Julia Stiles and the late Heath Ledger. I’ve watched the film many times before, but it was great to see it on the big screen for the first time. The beanbag seats were incredibly comfortable and I actually want one in my flat! We also headed back to the bar during the film for the Slush Puppie cocktails. I felt nostalgic drinking a Slushie after so many years, although they didn’t obviously have gin in them when I was a kid!
Overall, it was a great experience – an opportunity to see a classic film on the big screen, comfortable seats and a stimulating and colourful setting. Although there’s not long left at the Roundhouse, Backyard Cinema are screening a mix of classic and newer releases, as well as hosting sing-a-long beach parties with musical movies. You can also enter a competition to win two flights to LA by sharing photos of themselves at the event.
- Backyard Cinema: L.A. Nights will run between 18 July – 24 August 2019. Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, Camden Town, NW1 8EH. Nearest station: Chalk Farm. Tickets from £18.99. For more information and tickets, visit the BackyardCinema website.
For a guide to what’s on in London in August, click here.
NB: Metro Girl was a guest of Backyard Cinema, but my views are – as always – my own.