The Best Independent Cinemas in Adelaide, Australia

The Capri lobby, Adelaide
The Capri lobby, Adelaide | © The Capri
Photo of Tom Smith
14 March 2018

Sick of paying $24 for a movie ticket, $11 for a bucket of popcorn, and $8.50 for a choc-top? Then catch your next film at one of these eight excellent independent cinemas around Adelaide, screening the latest Hollywood releases as well as cult classics and arthouse titles.

Mercury Cinema

Mercury Cinema logo © The Mercury
Mercury Cinema logo, Adelaide | © The Mercury

Opened by Queen Elizabeth in 1992, this inner-city theatre is run by a not-for-profit organisation — the Media Resource Centre — dedicated to cultivating ‘screen culture’. Grab a drink at the stylish lobby bar before heading into the 186-seat cinema to catch new release arthouse films as well as a retrospective program of classics. You can find the Mercury just off North Terrace in the West End of the city, and even join the Cinémathèque screening club if you’re particularly keen on your hard-to-find flicks.

Capri Theatre

The Capri auditorium and organ © The Capri
The Capri auditorium and organ, Adelaide | © The Capri

This heritage-listed Art Deco cinema was constructed in 1941, and screens films from Hollywood’s golden age right through to today’s new releases. Run by a network of generous volunteers and located in Goodwood, the Capri is also home to a world-class Wurlitzer pipe organ that’s regularly used for recitals, billing the venue as the “Unique Entertainment Showplace in the World”.

Mitcham Cinemas

Mitcham Cinemas © Wallis
Mitcham Cinemas, Adelaide | © Wallis

Situated within the Mitcham Square Shopping Centre, this cinema isn’t your average shopping mall megaplex. Wallis Cinemas Mitcham is stylishly appointed with 1940s decor, contains seven screens, and also features the Boulevard Lounge, a nice spot for a drink or a bite to eat before or after your session.

Piccadilly Cinemas

Piccadilly Cinemas © Wallis
Piccadilly Cinemas, Adelaide | © Wallis

Another elegant Art Deco offering, this Wallis establishment is made up of three screens, each boasting super-comfortable stadium-style seating, as well as 3D screenings. The Piccadilly was opened in 1940 and retains its original character, which suits the leafy surroundings of North Adelaide, brimming with O’Connell St’s renowned bars and eateries.

Mount Barker Outdoor Cinema

Mount Barker Outdoor Cinema © Wallis
Mount Barker Outdoor Cinema, Adelaide | © Wallis

Picnic blankets and cinephiles fill the lawns of Auchendarroch House in Mount Barker over summer as Wallis Cinemas bring al fresco flicks to those balmy Adelaide evenings, including plenty of kids films and sing-along events. Wallis also has a seven-screen indoor cinema next door, and for fans of outdoor cinema, they’ve got a drive-in at Gepps Cross, too.

Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas

Vintage film reel © Nic McPhee / Flickr
Vintage film reel | © Nic McPhee / Flickr

The Palace and the Nova opened separately in the late ‘90s before quickly joining forces to become one of Adelaide’s favourite independent cinemas, showing mainstream, arthouse, independent, foreign-language and documentary films at 12 theatres – including the largest screen in the city, ‘The ExiMax’. Palace Nova has also recently opened a second location on Prospect Road in the trendy suburb of Prospect.

The Regal Theatre

Cinema film © Stefan / Flickr
Cinema film | © Stefan / Flickr

Step back in time at this charming single-screen cinema in Kensington Park, which has been welcoming Adelaide’s film-goers since 1925. Formerly known as the Chelsea, the Regal Theatre is an Art Deco masterpiece with capacity for nearly 600 patrons in its grand, old school cinema that dates back almost a century.

Trak Cinemas

Cinema projector © geek_love13 / Flickr
Cinema projector | © geek_love13 / Flickr

This cosy theatre in Toorak Gardens curates a program of the latest Hollywood showings as well as lesser known titles and subtitled films, enjoyed in intimate surrounds. This place is perfect for cinema-goers who want to escape the hulking cineplex theatre chains, but still catch all the newest big-name titles.

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