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Once had a Virgin-cinemas operated restaurant called The Waterfront: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/restaurants-on-the-waterfront-1083417.html
My first visit here today since the Starbucks replaced the downstairs bar. Furniture from the downstairs bar has been moved to the upper foyer as well as the Circle Bar (which seems to be used as an event space rather than as a bar) however both concessions kiosks now offer alcohol, and you can take your drink into the screens.
Expected to get a 4DX screen this year. Wonder which screen will get converted? I’ve have thought all but screen 2 are too small and cramped to fit the equipment in but who knows?
Realised this listing needs its title correcting. It’s the O2 (letter O) not the 02.
Visited recently, it seems screens 1-5 have been refurbished (including overhead lighting which is now distractingly bright however the floor lights have been dimmed) plus the Superscreen which now has Dolby Atmos. 6-10 upstairs are untouched, as are corridors meaning this cinema now has four different types of carpet throughout.
This was taken after the final film.
So it’s finally closed, with little fanfare. No message on the readograph, just a backlit poster outside and one or two inside plus film time screens occasionally showed a “That’s all folks” slide.
All food and drink was 25% off with no fountain drinks available at the lower kiosk and no hot dogs at the upper kiosk (I bought a popcorn combo so had to take my receipt upstairs – Coke Zero had run out so I settled on a Diet Coke which turned out to be almost flat).
One slide before the film advising the cinema was closing today and inviting customers to use Fulham Road or Leicester Square – perhaps rather telling that there was no mention of Haymarket? Once that goes then that’s all elements of ex-Classic cinemas gone from the Cineworld gene pool.
A few customers chatting to staff about what happens to them (employment at other sites) and thanking them.
No listings on Vue’s website beyond today so presume it’s closing for refurb from tomorrow?
An interesting account by someone whose mother worked there when she was a child: https://creamcracker.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/the-last-picturehouse/
It’s a shame no pictures seem to exist of the interior of this cinema over the years, as I’d love to see what the bar looked like. Wonder which operator took it out? In my mind I’m picturing the foyers as a sea of brown and orange, for some reason!
Incredibly cheap tickets here, £2.50 Monday to Friday and £3.50 weekends.
Yes, assumed those stains are water damage.
Haven’t been in the IMAX screen since the Pepsi signage came down, unfortunately.
In front of the curved backlit poster you can see evidence of some old water damage, and it’s there that the peeling/tearing in whatever it is on the ceiling can be found – sort of in line with the disused box office. It’s visible in a photo taken a year or two ago which I can’t seem to find right now so it’s something Empire also couldn’t be bothered to fix. On a positive note they’ve put the silver ball back on top of the entrance to screen 5 (it had fallen off and could be seen resting on the ledge). I’ll grab a shot of it on my next visit.
On my last visit the Pepsi Max branding had been removed from signage inside and out, albeit crudely done leaving holes in the metalwork. All other signage still Empire branded.
Still a Cineworld and becoming ever more threadbare. For some reason some of the programming duplicates Leicester Square, even right down to the showtimes.
Noticed the cinema is advertising itself as “London’s biggest screen outside the West End”. Not sure by what metric though as it’s eclipsed in both screen size and seating capacity by Cineworld at the O2. Biggest screen in Central London outside the Wet End? Biggest Curzon screen outside the West End?
I believe that’s the plan. I’m going to miss this cinema; the two larger screens upstairs are actually pretty decent and it’s been well maintained, and staff are friendly. However I won’t miss the uncomfortable, narrow seats with hard armrests (which nearby Cineworld Fulham Road is also afflicted with) and the screen in the basement is comically small for the size of the auditorium.
With Ealing long since demolished, Hammersmith gone, Chelsea closing and Haymarket transferring to Empire (although this seems to have gone very quiet), this could leave only Fulham Road as the last of the slightly oddball rump of non-purpose built multiplexes Virgin kept when they bought MGM. Kind of a shame as they have their own quirky 90s style.
The Empire-style menu boards at the concessions counter have been replaced with Cineworld ones, and with that comes some price changes: combo deals have gone up to £7 from £6.50, but there are some decent offers on alcohol such as two glasses of Prosecco for £7.50 and double up on spirits for £1. It does make you realise how pared-back Cineworld’s offering is.
Otherwise still selling Ben & Jerry’s, advertising is still Pearl & Dean, still using old unreliable ATMs inherited from Empire and no change to any signage.
The CMA has approved Cineworld’s acquisition so it will be interesting to see how they set about the rebranding. I’m hoping they’ll sort out some of the broken fibre optic lighting and peeling paint/paper on the foyer ceiling but given Empire left that broken for years and the state of Cineworld Haymarket I’m not getting my hopes up!
Visited today and the refurbished screens have new carpet and new seats (identical to the ones trialled as “Star Seating” at some other locations including nearby West India Quay) – seems odd to replace very comfortable seats that were only nine years old and in good condition. Seems to have reduced the legroom slightly.
New red LED strips on the edges of steps, and bright row indicators (replacing old blue LEDs that were starting to fail). This also includes very bright white strips along both sides of the ramp up into the screen, which unfortunately manage to shine on the screen on that side and wash out the picture in darker scenes.
Ceiling and wall lighting remains the same, which means the house lights are dim, cold LED bulbs from 2007 – as you might imagine most of these are starting to fail too.
Bizarrely the bar is covered in some fake wood panelling and red bulbs in many of the lights. Presumably this is something to do with the Empire Live event as it looks temporary and pretty awful!
I’m just finding this all a bit odd as they have other sites in London greater need of upgrading, for example other than the Star Seating trial and some new carpet the screens are unchanged from their 2000 state meaning a metal bar can be felt in the backrest of many of the seats.
Planning permission applied for to add eight screens, some of which will be VIP screens as installed at Milton Keynes, 4DX and possibly a Superscreen.
Also twitter reports seem to suggest that existing screens are being given new carpets and new or reupholstered seats, which is interesting as there are definitely ofher Cineworlds that could use new seats first such as West India Quay.
Vue have applied for planning permission to replace the front canopy and entrance doors, with new neon strips and uplighters. Looks like they’re ditching the now mostly unused box office windows, and installing one massive digital display (will upload photo shortly). The rendering looks much less cluttered than its current incarnation.
Now operated by Cineworld.
Now operated by Cineworld
May be rocky times ahead and may explain the apparent delay in rebranding and why Haymarket is still Cineworld: https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/cineworld-group-empire-cinemas-merger-inquiry
Still no sign of when this is going over to Empire. Listings have appeared for next week and bizarrely two of the films are also showing at the former Empire Leicester Square, often at similar start times. Surely better to offer more choice?