With the success of the Secret Cinema immersive experience, Hot Tub cinema, and the Luna outdoor cinema events across the UK, it’s fair to say that the British cinema scene is undergoing something of a reimagining. Hot off the heels of these popular events, Trader Vic’s has launched a monthly Tiki-themed film night at its Park Lane Hilton venue for 2015, which offers film-lovers a unique viewing experience boosted by cocktails and beanbag chairs. By Ellie Day
On the second Monday of each month, the Mayfair-based bar will be showing a series of films with a Hawaiian link. Movies including Casablanca, Point Break and Jaws are on the playing list; although at Christmas the Tiki theme is waived, with Home Alone featuring as their festive film (after all, what’s Christmas without the antics of a young Macaulay Culkin?!). The Hawaiian theme runs throughout the whole night, with a Mai Tai cocktail (The founder of Trader Vic’s himself was the original creator of this rum-based cocktail, we are reliably informed!) featuring as the essential alcoholic accompaniment to the film. The Tiki vibe is also engrained through the bar’s décor, with Polynesian artefacts appearing all over the venue for all those wishing to feel transported to sunnier climes.
The night seems to be reigniting the independent cinema vibe which largely disappeared in the 90’s with the advent of the mass screen ‘super cinema’ brands. It’s a simple combination of dialled-up cinema food (the Hawaiian hot dogs and vegetable tempura, both at £6.50, are must-tries) cocktails (the bar boasts around 200 different cocktail combinations!) and super comfortable seating in the form of armchair beanbags. As someone who has never knowingly stayed awake through the duration of a film, these bean bags are dangerously comfy, and when teamed with the often enormous fish bowl style cocktails you’ve got a potent mix which could easily lead to a sneaky cinema snooze!
The night is fun, quirky, and at £13 for the film ticket and a free drink it’s a very reasonably priced night out. The only downside would be the fact that there is no interval – with drinks served before and during the film showing, cinema-goers are regularly going in and out of the cinema to buy more drinks or use the loos, which does ruin the suspension of disbelief slightly. A mid-point interval could be a good way to avoid this. Overall, the experience is akin to watching the film in a deluxe home cinema; it’s really relaxed, and whilst everything runs very slickly, the whole night manages to feel laid back – but with the undeniable benefit of having a fully-stocked bar and able bar staff at hand!
To view the film schedule and book tickets, visit tradervicslondon.com.