Monday, 15 February 2010

If you're blue and you don't know where to go to...*

(*"Puttin' On The Ritz" by Irving Berlin)
I go to the movies at a range of complexes around Sydney but one of my favourites is the Randwick Ritz. The Ritz opened in July 1937 and is one of the few remaining art deco cinemas still operating in the state. Apparently still a family run cinema, the owners somehow squeezed another five screens alongside the original auditorium converting the business to a more economically viable 'multiplex'. It must face intense pressure from the two big muliplex chains which have surrounded it with three even larger complexes in nearby Bondi Junction, Moore Park and Pagewood.
The owners have maximised their opportunities on a limited site including turning the upstairs foyer of the orginal auditorium into a bar, cafe and function facility and creating an outside wining and dining area on the awning.
The original auditorium is now Cinema 1 and this is the downstairs foyer to it. The light fittings match those inside the auditorium and are replicated in the five newer cinemas which, whilst modern, maintain some of the art deco design themes. Cinema 1 retains an upstairs Dress Circle and most unusually in these times three of the five modern auditoriums also have Dress Circle seating.

Despite the competition of the chain muliplexes, The Ritz maintains strong patronage and I suspect is proving a more profitable business than the big boys despite charging discount prices for all its sessions.

The Ritz is located at the oddly named 'The Spot' and has a range of attractive restaurants and cafes as it's neighbours. A mutual benefit, no doubt. It also has excellent bus services passing by although these are not useful for me as none pass anywhere near my home. I would need to walk/train/bus with a change at Bondi Junction in both directions to travel by public transport between my home and The Ritz. So instead of 90-120 minutes travel time by public transport I drive (20 minutes each way) and take my chances with the limited available parking.


  1. The older theaters are full of character and provide much more of an "experience" than the multiplexes. Although, I must say, some of newer theaters, with stadium seating and other amenities, can be very nice.