King of the Date Night Cinema?
If you aren’t a loyalist to any particular Cinema chain, hearing that there is yet another cinema chain out there hoping to get you into their dark room and show you things might sound like more of the same; but is Empire different and can it be your date night cinema of choice?
Located on the end of Walthamstow’s High Street, Empire has the presence of a far larger cinema, despite its small stature as it squeezes itself between a Turtle Bay and a Pizza Express- meaning that Empire feels more suited to the High Street than any Cinema before it.
And this feel continues once you go inside as cheap tickets make a trip into Empire feel as whimsical as if you both decided to eat out for the evening.
Though just because Empire is easy on the pocket, it doesn’t mean that it skimps on quality. Instead, Empire’s design is a throwback to the days of the silver screen, with the popcorn bowl being wide and round rather than deep and square; and alternative snacks such as Hotdog's and Nacho’s are available, but aren’t on display.
Because even though Empire wants to look like a throwback Thursday, it hasn’t forgotten about modern cinema snacks; so, expect your Ice blast selection as well as the Ben and Jerry’s tubs that seem to be everywhere these days. Essentially, you can get the full Cinema experience here at Empire, only at a cheaper price.
That silver screen throwback is clear in the visual design too, with the cinema screen numbers looking like a 50’s Actress’ make-up dresser. It’s cute and subtle with the overall outcome being that everything you look at inside Empire is ‘easy on the eyes’.
Perhaps a feeling of being ‘cute’ is what Empire goes for as I cannot stress how small Empire is; a characteristic that is amplified once you step inside the screening. Because despite the relatively small space, Empire has not opted to have a small number of screens like say an Everyman Cinema, instead they opted for multi-screens in this small venue.
However, by squeezing all of these screens into one place, space- or at least communal space comes at a premium; so brace yourselves to walk in a single file should a screening end as you enter yours.
The screens themselves are no better and you will find that even if you sit at the back of the theater like we did, you still feel as though you are sitting in the front rows. It also means that almost no point of your sight line isn’t filed up with screen, making the film your native point of interest.
Additionally, the one thing you may find yourself with ample space with however, is the VIP seating. Costing no more than the regular at busy screenings and only £2.50 more than a regular ticket at other times, what you lose in cuddle space with the thicker & individual arm rests, you make up for in recline ability.
Yet none of these are a hindrance to Empire, nor do they truly matter in the grand scheme of your dating experience.
Granted, if you want to see a film here and it promises to be a blockbuster; you shouldn’t chance it by turning up without a booking, but if you both come here a few weeks after release and it isn’t a Saturday- expect to have Empire feeling like an extension of your living-room.
Super cheap tickets. Standards start from £4.95 & premium is less than £8.
- Very comfortable VIP seats that throw it back like a #TBT
- Flexible ticket pricing at peak timesmeans you can get a VIP seat at no extra cost/
- Classic styling, down to the popcorn box.
Small space means you might feel a little cramped on a busy night.
- Low costs mean it is popular with families in the area. Be mindful of this when choosing your movie and the chance of being disturbed during it.
- Not a real con, but a funny one; The seats recline so far back, my date thought they were being swallowed by the folding chair mechanism.
- Vintage style popcorn packaging might leave you feeling a little short changed on the quantity of your large popcorn.
- Temperamental touch screens means it's best you go up to the kiosk and buy your popcorn with your ticket.
- Short and stubby screens means cinema goers who like to feel removed from the experience may feel like they are missing out.
- Small screens mean you MUST book in advance for any movie that is even a little bit exciting.