The temperatures may be cooling as September sets in, but, if like me, you’re not quite ready to say goodbye to summer, then it’s worth paying a visit to Backyard Cinema’s Miami Beach. To those unaware, Backyard Cinema create immersive cinematic experiences in a variety of unique venues. I’ve previously visited their outdoor screenings at Camden Market, Romeo + Juliet accompanied by a live choir in a Marylebone church and last autumn’s ‘Lost World’ experience.
BC’s Miami Beach promised to offer a slice of Florida sunshine in south London. The cinema is located in a corner of Mercato Metropolitano – an Italian-style foodie market in Elephant and Castle. Despite the rainy weather the night of our visit, the buzzing atmosphere, the signs for gelato and Aperol Spritz certainly had a summery vibe. Fortunately, the cinema and a lot of the Mercato are under cover. Having visited Miami two years ago, the grand entrance to the cinema certainly evoked the vibe and architecture of South Beach with its baby pink, Art Deco design, palm trees and flamingos.
After entering through the ‘hotel door’, we were in the surf club, where we exchanged our shoes for brand new flip-flops (which you can keep afterwards). Although admittedly a rather unusual request from a cinema, the reason for this is to keep the sand clean. Finally, we arrived in the screening room, full of golden sand, a booming Eighties tracklist, a setting sun and a beach bar. The room is full of comfortable bean bags and blankets should you get cold (we didn’t… the temperature was perfect).
We headed to the beach bar to get fuel for the movie. The bar sells a selection of tropical cocktails, craft beers, wine and snacks. Many of the products on offer are from British independent producers which is always good to see. To get us suitably in the mood, we ordered some Pina Colada cocktails, which came served in palm tree glasses with a resealable straw, the latter I found very handy in protecting against a potential spilled drink situation which has happened to me more times than I can count.
Finally, we settled into our beanbags and got comfortable, watching the sun set before the main feature began. The film of our choice was the Oscar winner Moonlight, which tells the story of a gay African-American in three periods of his life. The movie is set in the Miami suburb of Liberty City so made a nice tie-in with the setting of the screening. It was quite surreal watching a movie on a bean bag while sinking my feet into the sand, but was a comfortable and relaxing experience.
Overall, it was a fun and quirky way to watch your favourite movie or a newer release. With only a few weeks less before the concept gives way to the upcoming Snow Kingdom theme (from 25 October), there isn’t much time left to visit so I recommend you book soon. With London’s September weather disappointingly colder than usual, it’s a great way to recapture that warm summery feeling… for a few hours at least.
- Backyard Cinema: Miami Beach is on until 6 October 2017. At Mercato Metropolitano, 42 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle, SE1 6DR. Nearest station: Elephant & Castle. Tickets from £16.50. For booking, visit the Backyard Cinema website.
For a guide to what else is on in London in October, click here.