Brisbane’s best boutique cinema – Blueroom Cinebar
Brisbane is a town with relatively little room for nostalgia. The clutch of spirited inner suburban cinemas that once entertained thousands on the weekends – The Gaythorne, Village Twin, and The Dawn among them – have all slowly disappeared over the last 25 years, victims of the monopoly held by the major exhibitors and the ‘develop first, ask later’ spirit that persisted even after the resignation of Joh Bjelke-Petersen in 1987. The vintage scene’s emotional (and geographic) centre – the Dendy on George St in the city – was the last to shut up shop in 2008, its operations relocating to some swell new digs down at Portside Wharf.
It means that if you want to go boutique in this town you have to go modern. As such, the ingredients that have gone into making Blueroom Cinebar in Rosalie a success are refreshingly straightforward. There’s little in the way of frills: just great food, fantastic service, and a trio of exceptionally comfy cinemas.
Blueroom Cinebar occupies some nondescript modern premises right in the centre of Rosalie. It’s not the most inviting of facades, but climb the stairs to the first level and all is soon forgiven. Low-key with art deco flourishes, Blueroom’s foyer is a relaxing environment in which to get excited about an impending motion picture. The Cinebar’s early years after its 2005 opening were hampered by a shabby selection of flicks, but that’s all changed now: films are distributor-fresh, and the daily line-up hits a nice balance between blockbusters and independent features.
Of course, what truly sets Blueroom apart from the local pack is its food. An extensive but unfussy menu covers everything from crispy organic falafel ($12.50) to salt and pepper whiting ($17.50) and handmade taleggio pizza ($18.50). You can enjoy the meals in the foyer, on the balcony overlooking the hoi polloi in Rosalie village, or indeed have them delivered fresh to your seat so you can lord your booty over the suckers who opted for popcorn (yes, there’s popcorn).
As for the cinemas themselves, there are few in town, if any, that provide such a comfortable viewing experience. The seats are generous, the pillows refreshingly homely in their feel, and the tables spacious enough to accommodate the most slovenly of neighbours. Given the intimate nature of the cinemas, the screens are sizable and the viewing angle fantastic from any seat in the house. All this means the ticket prices – $21.50 is the most you’ll pay on a Friday or Saturday night – are more than reasonable.
For a lot of people, truly relaxing in a darkened cinema is a hard thing to do: there’s always that vague fear the theatre cat is going to come along and piss on your shoes. But Blueroom Cinebar gets the mix just about right. It’s like Gold Class, but cheaper, more sophisticated and without the spotty kid spilling Sprite all over your slacks. Those of you who like rolling Jaffas down the aisle and yanking the hair of the girl in front should probably stay away, but if you prefer to sink into your viewing experience and take the high road to movie bliss, you’d be hard pressed to beat Blueroom Cinebar.
151 Baroona Road, Rosalie
ph: 07 3876 4566