Film lovers in London are spoilt for choice with a wide mix of outdoor, luxury and immersive cinemas popping up all over the capital. Just last month, we were invited to BACKYARD CINEMA at the super hip Mercato Metropolitano, a short stroll from Borough market. It was Christmas movie season at Backyard Cinema and we’d been booked into their Winter Garden to watch one of my all-time Disney favourites, Lady and the Tramp.
Arriving early at Mercato Metropolitano gave us a chance to wander about the buzzy Italian market that reminded me of the Mercato Centrale we’d visited in Florence last year. It’s a large, open space with long tables and benches spread out for diners, lots of room for little feet to run about, and a variety of street food vendors. There’s fresh Italian food of course, but you’ll also find burgers, rotisserie chicken, Vietnamese food, Lebanese and other cuisines in the mix. We couldn’t resist sharing a quick crepe with Nutella and gelato, before the movie started.
For Backyard Cinema’s Winter Garden, we entered through a Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe style closet, through a secret woodland area, into the main screening hall.
After picking up popcorn and juice from the bar, we settled under twinkling lights, feeling ultra cosy on beanbags with blankets provided.
Apparently Backyard Cinema originated in founder Dominic’s backyard, where he set up a temporary screen (ok, a bedsheet) with projector so that he could watch Jurassic Park with his friends. This simple idea grew into a series of pop-ups that have travelled from venues in Camden Market to a church in West London (where they screened Romeo & Juliet with a live choir) to its latest home.
It’s easy to see why Backyard Cinema is so popular — they pick fantastic locations and their programming is top-notch, a combo of beloved movies, food and a party atmosphere. Their brand new season, Backyard Studios, celebrates Oscar picks and films that changed the world. It also includes some ‘Live Music & Movies’ screenings, with films like Chicago, Blues Brothers, Dreamgirls and School of Rock accompanied by live performances.
After watching that famous romantic dinner scene between Lady and her Tramp, you might imagine the boys and I would go searching for spaghetti and meatballs. But despite the Italian food in abundance at Mercato Metropolitano, it was Vietnamese pho that was calling our names on a chilly winter afternoon. Truly heart warming.
Mercato Metropolitano incorporates not just Backyard Cinema and food stalls, but also an events space, gym and co-working hub. A cool spot for Dates with Dads, meet ups with mums or a family outing with your babes about town.
Visit www.backyardcinema.co.uk at 42 Newington Causeway, London SE1 6DR (Borough/Elephant & Castle tube). All ages welcome (check screening certificate). Various screenings/tickets from adult £16.50 standard/child £9.50 up to £69 for 2 x tickets plus blankets, bottle of fizz and refreshments included. (ongoing; current season until Mar 5)