Whether it’s a romantic date or a trip into the centre of town with your friends, the wide variety of film choices in central London means that you’ll often find yourself looking for somewhere to eat and drink in and around the heart of the city.
Although there are more cinemas and a wider variety of films in central London than in any other part of town, there is one unavoidable downside. No matter where you go, you’ll end up paying more for the pleasure. To help out, we’ve picked out some of the best cinemas in the area and also highlighted some of our favourite spots to grab a bite to eat.
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The place most people associate with film in London, and arguably the biggest tourist destination too, Leicester Square is perfect for those looking for a full variety of movies and food to take in.
Central London’s recently refurbished Vue location, complete with reclining seats and a fancy selection of food and drink.
One of London’s largest cinemas, the Odeon Leicester Square is home to the biggest premieres in the capital as well as the newest blockbuster releases.
Places to go:
The home of Phileas Fogg, adventurers and casual cinema fans can drop in and enjoy a beverage. It also has a fantastic sister in Mayfair that’s definitely worth heading to (see below).
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The hustle and bustle of Oxford Street can get a bit much at times. Sure, you can shop till your heart is content (or more likely until your bank account is empty), but there’s also a fairly new cinema around the corner from Oxford Circus station to find solitude in.
Places to go:
“Hairclubbing” is the trend you never knew you needed in your life. The concept is simple enough – you can catch up with friends over blow-dries and bubbles, relax with a hot chocolate or a glass of wine, binge on Netflix whilst waiting for your highlights to develop, or simply enjoy a terrific Old Fashioned and shoot the breeze with a drinking buddy during your haircut.
One of London’s newest cinemas is in the fastest-growing part of town. Once seen as a virtual no-go area thanks to a seedy reputation, King’s Cross was transformed when it became the UK’s main station to Europe. With the Eurostar to Paris taking less time than it takes for your breakfast to digest, planning your next incredible meal is essential.
Split over two venues in this rejuvenated part of central London, the Everyman King’s Cross is one of the newest cinemas in town. It’s a more luxury experience than your average cinema, but that’s what we’ve come to expect from this chain.
Places to go:
Spiritland has a cafe, bar and radio studio in King’s Cross, as well as a shop in Mayfair that is built around a deep love of music and the culture that surrounds it.
The unusual name comes from the space being a Grade II listed building in King’s Cross, built in 1865 for th German Gymnastics Society. It went on to become England’s first all purpose built gym that even hosted the first ever indoor Olympic events in 1866. The stunning venue is open-plan with an ultra elegant interior…some would say, the perfect setting to make a few sophisticated cocktails. German Gymnasium offers two types of cocktail masterclass, a Curious (£37.50 pp) and an Adventurous class (£55 pp) for guests to choose from when booking, both include a selection of tasty bar snacks and a guided workshop from the Bar Manager. If you opt for the Adventurous option you’ll even get a chance to try your hand at ice carving. The Meister Bar’s new ‘Icons’ menu celebrates the art in all forms as well as showcasing the talent and imagination of it’s bartenders, which are all very Instagram-friendly.
Not too far from Leicester Square sits the even busier Piccadilly Circus. There are two luxurious cinemas a short distance from the tube station, and a number of quirky dining spots too.
If you’re after more of a luxury experience, then Odeon’s latest branch in central London is the one for you. Formerly known as the Odeon Panton Street.
Places to go:
A new bar bursting onto the London cocktail scene born out of pure imagination, Cahoots has caused something of a stir. Officially booked up for weeks, those who make it in will soon see why it’s worth the wait. Housed in a former air raid shelter now decked out like a 1940s tube station, stepping into this bar is like stepping into a slice of post-war London. The ’newspaper’ cocktail menu is on-point, the staff are firmly in character, and while costumes aren’t compulsory, they are definitely welcomed.
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Tottenham Court Road
Not too far from Oxford Circus, and just one stop away on the Central Line, Tottenham Court Road has undergone a major overhaul in recent years. All part of the Crossrail project, it’s certainly taken a long time to complete, but the result is that the previously rundown end of the main shopping street in London is now looking particularly shiny.
One of the most established film venues in London, the main road might be quite busy but the actual cinema is a little secluded escape perfect for movie watching.
One of London’s favourite restaurants, Mac & Wild began its journey as a Scottish street food sensation, serving up one of Scotland’s finest exports – wild game – for London’s everyday people.
The first London outpost of the popular Thai restaurant, Greyhound Cafe is a new dining spot in the heart of the West End. The traditional dishes feel authentic to the tastebuds, and look just as appealing. There are some great cocktails on the menu too, all of which can be enjoyed either inside in the cosy surroundings of the dining area, or outside in the spacious terrace.
Mayfair is home to plenty of high-end fashion and designer shops, but there are also plenty of places to dine too. The cinema is hidden away somewhat, but is worth tracking down, as are the places we think you should visit after your film screening. In addition, for the more arty types, there are a number of museums and galleries in the area too.
Places to go:
There’s very few places to shop around Russell Square, but plenty of fine dining options. The cinema close by also offers films you might not get elsewhere, so although the area is a little out of the way, it is worth a visit.
Situated in the Brunswick Centre, Curzon Bloomsbury is a destination venue for the curious and adventurous. With five screens dedicated to the most exciting and inspirational cinema you are bound to find something new to watch and discover.
Places to go:
New dishes include starters of French snail cassoulet with garlic butter, parsley and shallots; honey baked camembert; and classic Fish Soup served with gruyère d’Alpage cheese, rouille sauce and croutons. Whilst tempting debut mains include the likes of chicken escalope with mushrooms and dauphinoise potatoes; roasted salmon accompanied by fennel and a leek velouté, and Bon Vivant’s ‘Dirty Burger’ packed with cheese, baconnaise, tomato, onion and French fries.
Synonymous with Sherlock Holmes, Baker Street is a bustling, multicultural part of town. Most venues in the area feel a little bit too “touristy” but there are still a few gems scattered across the quarter if you look hard enough.
Places to go:
Modern takes on classic French dishes, Orrey is in a converted stable block with roof terrace and church views.
Venturing south of the river now, you can find the biggest cinema screen in Europe which can be accessed directly via a series of tunnels from Waterloo station. There are plenty of food and drink options along the Southbank and also the superb BFI hub, home to the British Film Industry.
Places to go:
During the week, the “city” part of town is where you’ll find business men and women going about their work and rarely looking up from the phones. When offices shut, however, the nightlife really picks up and the Barbican Centre regularly plays host to special events, screenings and festivals.
Places to go:
This trendy spot just opposite St Paul’s Cathedral offers some of the best views of the city as well as a fine selection of cocktails and nibbles.
Situated in Exmouth Market, one of the trendier areas near Old Street station, Coin Laundry offers 70’s style fittings but with food that feels modern. The bottomless brunch selection is a highlight, with everything you would expect as well as some locally-sourced treats thrown in. You can try the light and tasty avocado on toast with Devon chilli cucumber salad or the filling Purple sprouting broccoli & merguez sausage hash, fried egg dish. There are a few chain restaurants in the area, but this is a genuine one-off.
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