Located opposite Glenferrie station, the Lido stretches over three levels, and is home to eight cinemas, a jazz room, and a rooftop cinema. After making your way up to the first floor, you’ll be greeted by the accommodating and friendly staff. The extensive lobby leads to all areas, almost like a maze.
The cinema’s block colour paint job screams at you from all directions. Walk one way, and you’ll find yourself in a red hallway; walk another, and you’re headed down blue steps into the jazz room. In terms of interior, the Lido definitely takes the lead as one of the most vibrant and picturesque cinemas we’ve ever been to.
If you’re wanting something different, the rooftop cinema offers a whole new experience. Sit yourself down on one of the lawn chairs, make yourself comfy, and slip your headphones on. In a matter of minutes, you’ll forget that you’re backed onto a busy road. The rooftop boasts an amazing view of Hawthorn - so much so, that you’ll probably get distracted looking off into the distance halfway through your film.
Apart from your latest releases, the Lido also showcases international film festivals, and the lesser-known films with limited releases. As far as independent cinemas go, the Lido experience goes beyond your standard cinema. Go there to see a film, stay there to enjoy the amazing culture and people. Check online for more info.
The iconic Astor Theatre stands proud in St Kilda; a classic one-cinema theatre, with an incredible art deco interior. Stepping into the theatre, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped back in time, with all the plush furnishing looking luxurious than ever.
The theatre definitely does not lack character and charm; it’s the little things that make going to the Astor just that little bit more special. The theatre’s resident cat Duke can regularly be found sleeping on the upstairs couches. If you find yourself at one of the marathons, you’ll often find yourself learning more about film, along with some fun trivia thrown in by management. The enthusiasm of the staff adds to your experience - as you’ll learn the theatre is run by film lovers, for film lovers.
The theatre is not one to shy away from weird and wonderful cinema; it embraces it. Rare prints and cult classics will often be shown, as well as international film festival entries. Due to the theatre’s brilliant programs, double features, and overnight marathons, the MEL Live team has spent many, many hours at the Astor. After a few years of visiting the Astor on a regular basis, it still remains one of our favourite independent cinemas.
With an extensive amount of events and festivals coming up, make sure you head to their website to see what's showing.
Elsternwick’s Classic Cinema stands proud in the Bayside area, less than half an hour out from the CBD. The cinema is located across the street from Elsternwick station, surrounded by a multitude of incredible restaurants and bars.
Walking through the doors, you’ll be greeted by the dreamy blue interior which runs from floor to ceiling. The lobby is plush and welcoming, featuring a retro-style movie showtime board and candy bar. If you’re wanting something other than popcorn and choc tops, the cinema also serves dumplings, edamame, toasties, and cheese boards. To top it off, the bar offers a wide selection of craft beers and local wines, which you are more than welcome to take with you into your screening.
The walls upstairs can be found plastered in pages from screenplays, which definitely makes the wait for your film interesting. The cinema is home to ten screens, showcasing both mainstream and arthouse film, as well as film festivals. Most of the cinemas themself have a different theme or feel to them, which is a nice touch that sets the Classic apart from other cinemas.
Whether you’re looking to catch the next film festival, or are wanting a cinema experience that’s memorable and just that bit more special, head down to the Classic Cinema. We know we’ll definitely be heading back.
The American Express Openair Cinema returns for another year, across two locations in Melbourne. Starting off in Yarra Park, you'll get the chance to enjoy a peaceful walk through the gardens, as well as a great view of the MCG in the background. Their St Kilda Beach site offers an incredible outdoor cinema experience, with the cinema itself backing onto the beach. Looking onto the St Kilda Esplanade, the venue takes you far enough from the city, but still reminds you of how beautiful Melbourne is.
Open Air Cinema allows BYO food and drink, and is dog friendly - so feel free to pack a picnic and bring along your furry friend! If you’re feeling like treating yourself, there’s a pizza stall, as well as a bar serving up popcorn and ice cream.
Feel like splurging? Get yourself a VIP ticket and enjoy bean bag seating with a blanket, and a complimentary drink and popcorn. This is a must-have for an extra special night, or if there’s a movie you’ve been dying to catch.
The cinema runs from October to December each year, so make sure you mark it down in your calendar. Check their website for more info.
Moonlight Cinema is back for another year at the Central Lawn of the Royal Botanic Gardens. You’ll find the cinema a short walk into the gardens, so enjoy the scenic route while it’s still light out.
BYO food, grog and dog, if you please. Food trucks with plenty of options are on site for those wanting to treat themselves. Bean bag chairs are also available for hire if you’re wanting ultimate comfort.
The ultimate Moonlight Cinema experience is brought to you by Gold Grass. Splash out on one of these tickets, and you’ll be treated to a prime spot on the lawn, along with a complementary bean bag. Don’t worry about getting up for your food - you’ll have food and drink service straight to your spot.
Whether you’re up for a classic, or a new release, Moonlight Cinema has something for everyone. With the weather being perfect at the moment, there’s no better time to head down to the cinema’s lawn.
The season runs from November to March, so make sure you head to their website and book in soon!
Located in Williamstown’s Commonwealth Reserve, Sunset Cinema’s offering to the outdoor cinema experience is one like no other. Sunset Cinema’s picturesque views by the ports is unforgettable, with a magnificent city skyline view of Melbourne right by the water. Sit down and relax in the comfort of a bean bag or bean lounger and be prepared to enjoy the sunset and a film of your choosing.
We ventured to Williamstown for the closing night of the summer cinema, greeted at the door by a local drag queen, who later treated everyone to a session of drag bingo and a drag performance. As far as pre-movie entertainment goes, this was a welcome alternative to the usual musical set we’ve seen in the past, and was something we could get onboard with.
We highly recommend experiencing what Sunset Cinema has to offer, and while you are there, consider upgrading for the star treatment - with reserved seating, a bean lounger, beverage of your choosing and popcorn included. Sunset Cinema will return, so be sure to keep an eye on their website here.
Barefoot Cinemas delivers beautiful scenery, live entertainment and a fantastic selection of latest releases and old favourites - providing attendees with the full outdoor cinema experience.
Running from December to February, journey out to one of their three incredible locations to see what all the fuss is about.
Offering films in Point Nepean National Park in Portsea, Rippon Lea Estate in Rippon Lea and The Briars Homestead in Mount Martha, the Barefoot experience is all about relaxation and comfort; appreciating the beauty of the surroundings and in each of the films.
Treat yourself to the VIP experience to receive a reserved seat in the VIP area, a complimentary beer, wine or soft drink, blanket, popcorn and waiter service for the night.
If you are interested in venturing out on a Barefoot experience, head over to their website and book a ticket today.