Carrying on in the cinema vein (see earlier review from today) I thought I'd turn my attention to the electric cinema.
This wonderful art deco cinema is (I believe) the oldest working cinema in the country. Small but oh so perfectly formed, it sits nestled away round the back of New Street station and shows everything from the latest releases to cult classics and offerings from all over the globe.
As you enter you receive your tickets from the tiny box office, and it doesn't seem like they've changed their tickets since it opened. Nostalgia filled tiny red or blue (depending on your seating choice) tickets are just the tip of the fantastic iceberg that is the electric.
Once you've received your tickets it's on to the bar which serves a selection of cocktails, often developed to represent the films they are screening, as well as beers, wines, spirits and snacks. As an aside this is one of only two places where you can buy Electric Ale which is a bespoke beer developed for the electric in partnership with Two Towers brewery.
Inside the screens the fun doesn't stop. There's plenty of leg room in the standard seating but if you splash out on one of the sofa seats you won't be disappointed. You'll be presented with a menu so you can text the bar during the film and have drinks and snacks brought straight to your seat.
Also worth noting that if you're a fan of films of the scarier persuasion the electric is home to the Shock & Gore film festival where indie horror movies collide with extra special film screenings such as the Dracula wine tasting experience.
There's so much more I could add but don't take my word for it go and check it out yourself!
It's quite a shame to think it took me almost three years, since I have moved to the UK, to visit this fantastic place. The truth is I've planned to visit The Electric before but for a reason or other I never did. The waiting ended having the full experience last weekend.
To start with, Birmingham should be proud for being the home of the oldest cinema in activity in the UK. And It`s just amusing to be inside this cosy and elegant place situated in the back of New Street Station, nearby the Chinatown part of the city.
The facility is nothing like the multiplex you are used to watch your films nowadays and that is the charming part of being there. The classic display in the entrance says enough.
Inside, the Electric cinema is more inviting and I have chosen the Hepburn seat for many reasons. As a small cinema, the use of the space is really interesting. these seats can be booked in advanced and you can indulge yourself in a food & drinks experience that really is really worthy!
Cakes, beers and hot chocolates are all available in the menu and with a simple text message you have your orders served during the film in an efficient and really quick service.
The Hepburn seat was a lovely choice and it can just be a problem if your choice of film is not a good one because you can really feel like having a nap in this comfy sofa. But there is a fat chance of it happens because the selection of films presented at The Electric is always outstanding.
The Electric cinema is a classic cinema and the whole nostalgic experience is something indispensable for art lovers!
I love, love, love the Electric. It's a true character cinema, and you can rely on it to show the best art house films as well as the latest hits.
It's cute, you can get tea and cakes and it has a bar. And you can take your drinks in with you. Do I really need to say more? Watching vintage Christmas films with a hot chocolate? Brilliant.
Well, since you wanted more, you can hire a sofa (ok, it's not cheap, save it for a special occasion) * and text your food orders to the bar, who will bring it in for you. Particularly good for films in the epic style.
We're very lucky to have a venue like this.
*although when you think about the price of cinema tickets these days it's totally worth it.
Our Friends Electric...
the screens are intimate, the sofa's are bookable and with a fully licensed bar that you can text your order to, you really cannot go wrong.
It is a different atmosphere to any of the big multiplexes but that really is no bad thing.
with two screens they choose what they are showing very carefully and with new releases as well as cult classics in the line up it's somewhere I could not get bored of.
My advice, check out one of the themed events. (Halloween often proving popular)
After living in Brum for three years, I finally managed to step over the threshold into the oldest working cinema and it certainly lived up to my expectations.
I was transported back in time, with the wonderful decor, old school type tickets, comfy seats and friendly staff. No popcorn is served here but cakes and pretzels instead and an array of snacks and drinks can be bought to your seat for an extra cost.
Can't wait to return.
Would happily visit this cinema every week!
You want an interesting place to go of an evening in Birmingham but not sure where? Head to the Electric! As a top tip - book online! If you can stretch to it (its about £12 a seat with a minimum of 2 seats purchased) get a sofa! You can order food and drink to your seat inc. Wine, beer, spirits or freshly baked cookies and sweets!
There is also a great schedule of events throughout the year including events with Flatpack Festival, Shock and Gore fest and various special one offs!
While it bills itself as the oldest working cinema in the UK, The Electric Cinema is so much more than just an historic shell. They have an amazing bar, with drink specials matched to the films they're playing.
They offer amazing films and run some great special events to go along with them. My last two visits have been to see the cult film The Room and a Cuban zombie film.
While all of the seating in this one screen cinema is great, booking ahead to reserve the couches in the back lets you order extra refreshments via text messages during the movie. Their website talks about how they'll rent out the cinema for special events, I'll update this if and when I scrape up the 300 quid it takes to run a private Jackie Chan filmfiest!
The Electric is a jewel! The oldest working cinema it may be but it is so much more. It is a full experience in its own right.
Not only do you get fantastic films, you get food and drink served in cups, jars and dishes, a proper bar. You can even text your order and have it delivered to your seat.
I love coming here to watch the films that I cannot see as a Cineworld Card holder, as a treat and as a reminder of how great a proper cinema experience can be.
I do wish they show more "indie" films and give longer runs to those films when they are out. I appreciate that they want to show the big releases and that there is a commercial imperative, but I would love it if they could tip the balance more in favour of the indie...
... that's the film snob in me talking.
A cinema without popcorn ought to be a bad thing, but not here.
The Electric, the UK's oldest working cinema, reckons popcorn makes the place smell of vegetable oil. So it offers cake instead. And cocktails. And wine and beer. And cookies. And all sorts of other goodies that make you forget all about the stinky, noisy popcorn.
And if you pay £5 extra you can watch from a big squishy sofa at the back and text a waiter for table service during the film. Amazing.
Listings include a mix of mainstream, independent and foreign films, as well as some old classics.
It's just a couple of minute's walk from New Street train station, and is available for private hire.
I LOVE The Electric! I'm a cinema snob, so it's right up my street.. but also caters to the teenager in me who wants to see Harry Potter but in the comfort of a sofa with alcohol themed around JK Rowlings books. Yes, this is a cinema for people who are passionate about what they're seeing - and who follow the rules of Mark Kermode when it comes to film watching - no talking, no eating noisy food, no mobiles... just generally common sense!
If you pay extra, you can sit in their comfy sofas at the back, but there's also something delightfully old fashioned about the seats up front. They offer unusual snacks and beverages - alcohol is available, cakes and biscuits - and during special events they spruce the place up and even wear fancy dress. Electric Cinema - I salute you!
Not in the mood for the multiplex? The Electric Cinema, which has reached iconic status among locals and cinephiles across the country, offers a unique movie-going experience that is more than worth the price of admission.
From the moment you step into the Electric, which is the UK's oldest working cinema, you're in for a different experience entirely to what you'd get at an Odeon - or, in my experience, other independent cinemas. There are two screening rooms, although I've only enjoyed showings in the larger room, and you can shell out for a comfy-as sofa at the back to snuggle up with your Saturday night date. The standard seats are still comfy though and the top-notch waiter service means you can enjoy booze and snacks during the latest indie flick du jour.
My top tip is to look out for late night screenings, including the annual Halloween weekend midnight movies - give me the Electric as a nightlife option any Saturday over a mundane dance club.
I always feel sad that I don't love the Electric when everything about me shouts I should love the Electric. It's independent, tick. It's a cinema with a bar, tick. It has cakes, tick. It's an old cinema, tick. It shows independent and low distribution movies i want to see, tick. Alas I just can't get comfy here, I know there are super squashy sofas with fab names but I'm not willing to fork out the cost to sit on a sofa. With old red velvet drop down seats with theatre leg room I find it difficult enjoying films here.
All the same wherever possible we should champion our independent businesses and support them against the big corporate giants. If you are looking for somewhere more distinct to watch your movies, and a bit more grown-up then this is the place.
Good films, good staff, good food and good drinks all in decadent surroundings it puts the glamour back into movies! Love it.
This is the oldest working cinema in the UK. It's worth visiting for the place itself, but sadly the quality of the films is generally lacking. I like my independent cinemas to show cool independent films, but that only happens 50% of the time here, and even then they don't generally choose the coolest.
Oh well, there's not many cinemas that serve wine and olives :)
I rarely go to the cinema, as I get annoyed at people who constantly talk and mess around all the way through, but this is One of Birminghams little gems. Attracts a nice crowd and adds a touch of class.
The Electric Cinema is great if you are not a fan of squeezing in between strangers and listening to people laughing and giggling at the most inopportune times.
The great thing about the Electric Cinema is the movies are hand picked by the owners and they only show one movie at a time. This means that it only attracts a certain type of people, and they certainly are the people you want to sit in a dark room with watching a movie.
The bar has a great selection of drinks and snacks and they even change the cocktails to theme with the movie showing at the time.
They also have a VIP service. There are leather (comfy) sofas at the top of the screen for only a little extra money and you also get a waitress service to bring your drinks to you. They have thought of everything, as they serve so many delicious cocktails and beers they have an interval in the middle of every film for toilet stops lol.
Highly recommended!! ***
The Electric Cinema is the tiny, but pristine jewel in the crown of the Birmingham cinema scene. A modest, independent venue tucked away to the side of New Street Station, The Electric caters for fans of more arty, off-kilter entertainment. It has two screens of reasonable size, but the true appeal of the place lies in its spacious, comfy seating and novel approach to cinema snacking, namely swapping traditional popcorn for home-made cake, and litres of cheap soda for fruit juices, wines and even real ale.
The Electric tends to get more mainstream films in after the big name cinemas, which means unless you're happy to watch films like Avatar on a smaller screen in the comfort of The Electric, you may be better off going elsewhere. Where this place really shines is in its offering of obscure, arty and foreign films that receive the barest of lip service, if anything, from the large cinema franchises.
That said, even with the recent spate of 3D blockbusters The Electric hasn't let itself fall behind: they recently installed a 3D system in the upstairs screen, allowing for what the cinema calls "one of the best 3D experiences in the country".
If you love cinema and are forever looking for something a little different to the latest Hollywood snorefest, check out The Electric and you're bound to find something to love.
As the oldest cinema in the country, this is a real piece of history and a very cool place to go and watch the odd release for a treat. Kicking back on the comfy leather sofas and sipping a delicious butter beer (it was Harry Potter!) and munching cookies at 9.30am is something you don't get to do that often, but it's a great way to start a Saturday!
The Electric Cinema also tends to show movies it's easier to access elsewhere so it's always worth a look if the mainstream cinemas aren't catering to your needs.
Fantastic little gem in Birmingham! I was absolutely devastated when it closed down a few years ago, but when it re-opened I was so happy and I promised myself I'd support it as much as I could this time but making sure I went regularly.
It's not run quite as it was in those days - I remember the olden days when it was run mainly by volunteers and was a lot more run down - but obviously although that had a certain charm, it wasn't sustainable.
They've lovingly restored it now and kept the beautiful Art Deco features intact. They're also reopened the second screen which is great as it allows them to show a better range of films. I still wish they'd show a few more foreign and independent films, as they tend to have very long runs of mainstream films you can see anywhere, but that's the only criticism I have. They serve lovely fresh ground coffee and lovely snacks like olives - no popcorn here!
If you've never been - go - you're in a for a real treat. If you have a special occasion, two or more can rent a sofa for £10 instead of standard seating with text waiter service too!
What an awesome little place.
It really makes something as pedestrian as 'going to a movie' exciting again with a totally unique viewing experience. I highly recommend booking a sofa and going with your significant other. From your 2 seater sofa you can text during the film and food and drink you want which will be delivered silently to your little table during the film, it's genius.
The retro styling of the place is charming and the experience is really something. If you're a film connaisseur you owe it to yourself to check this place out.
The only independent Art House / Cult cinema in the city. Quirky, classy retro/art deco feel. Friendly staff. I personally prefer the regular seats -I found the sofas too far away for the money and the slouching position you adopt when sitting on them for a long period actually uncomfortable!
The text-ordering service is a nice touch and great if you've got the munchies but don't want to miss any of the film! I've seen some great films herefilms I would have not been able to see anywhere else but glad I was able to.
Certainly not the cheapest cinema in the city but for a bit of independent cinema culture and the experience, it is most certainly worth it.
Purportedly the oldest working cinema in the UK, the Electric has been in recent years been lovingly restored to something approximating its past glory though with a modern update. The sound which use to be appalling is now state of the art; there are sofas at the back of the screens so it can be like watching a film in your living room. seats are also lovely, luxurious in fact.
It's now a nice place to go and see arthouse films whereas previously it was bit hit and miss plus smelly and cold!
The cinema, which happens also to be also art deco in style, is licensed with a waiter/waitress service so quite posh!
great selection of cakes, you can also get coffee/teas and nibbles from the front of cinema cafe/hatch.
For budding musicians there's also a recording studio/dubbing theatre for hire too
I'm a fully paid up member of the great multiplex that is @cineworld. Since I already pay for that pass, it'a great treat to visit one of our city's great instituions, The Electric. It's famously the oldest working cinema in the UK and although I can walk to four cinemas from my place, if a film is not showing at the biggun on Broad St, I take great delight in doing the Electric.
I only wish they had more had more indie films as I would go more often. Perhaps they could offer a few short runs each week to ensure bums on seats rather than having long runs?
Anyway, no other cinema gives you coffee & cake to enjoy whilst watching a classic oldie or brand new indie foreign langugae film. it may bot be the best quality coffee & cake but I'll take it over cola and popcorn served in buckets any day. Plus they serve your sweets in a bowl - all this in an effort to cut down on noise in a small, comfortable cinema. Not practical, a little cumbersome but the novelty has not worn off yet. Oh and book a sofa at the back if you going as a group or for a special occasion.
Last year the BF an I saw 'Meet me in St Louis' for their Christmas offering and I'm very much looking forward to this year's. See you there?
meet me in st louis
If you're after something other than mindless, Hollywood blockbusters then The Electric Cinema is a good place to look. Opened on December 30th 1909, it is the oldest working cinema in the UK. As well as a theatre, the building also houses a recording studio and production house.
If you can bare to pay £12 a ticket you get luxury leather sofa seats to sit on. These are great, and the novelty value is undeniable however they are positioned furthest away from the screen so the £6 standard seating is the better option if your eyes aren't so good.
The best feature of this arthouse cinema is the waiter service. All you do is text the bar your order, "two 'San-Miguels' please" and moments later they come and kneel beside you with whatever you've asked for. The bill is settled at the end.
I really enjoyed my visit yet at £12 each ticket, I don't think the luxury sofa seats are fairly priced considering how far away from the screen they are. The menu is also pretty expensive but if you want to see independant, cult cinema classics on the big screen there aren't many other places to go in Birmingham.
Thanks to Qype from now i can say definetly The Electric Cinema, San Carlo Restaurant and Red Bar and Lounge will be in my favourite hangouts in Birmingham City Centre.
thanks for introducing me to them. the seats are great and there are great films on.
Birmingham is lookin cool!
I have been to the electric cinema a couple of times and have been very impressed. It is the oldest working cinema in the U.K. and actually went through a bit of a phase of being a pornographic cinema but luckily was bought by a local entrepreneur and restored to look like it did many years ago. The service is excellent with Cocktails that are tailored to the movie you are watching and it is worth the extra money to sit on the sofas which has a great novelty value. On the sofas you can also text to order a drink and you settle the bill at the end. Sat on sofa is a very comfortable way to watch a movie and it is nice to not need to watch hundreds of adverts before the movie starts.
Enjoy the cinema in luxury. Pay a little bit extra (Not that much when you consider probably the same as you'd pay in London for a normal cinema!) and get to sit on a comfy couch and enjoy your film. Tends to show more independant films which can lead to a slightly pretentious crowd, but nice for something different to do on a weeknight.
I love the Electric. Love it. And have done for years. From the sumptuous leather sofas, to the gorgeous art-deco styling to the scrummy-yummy little bowls of truffles this is a glorious cinema. It is the oldest working cinema in Britain and feels like it. I remember years back it was a scruffy, shabby and unpretentious kind of place. Now it is a home to glamour but in a brilliant understated brummy way and the perfect treat when ever I venture home.
I always love a trip to the Electric. Having very little tolerance for people talking or rustling throughout a film, the Electric is the perfect place to go to avoid this. It is small enough and expensive enough to deter that minority of youth who go to the cinema for reasons other to watch films.
It is £12 a ticket for a comfy leather sofa with table service of alcohol and chocolate cake. Yes, cake. You heard. It is £6
for the standard seating which is nearer the screen. I don;t know if they bring you the cake if you sit here, so it's not worth the risk for me.
The cinema is very small, about 6 rows of standrad seats and then a couple rows of sofas, so where ever you sit you are not far fromt he screen. I doubt the sound and screen quality match an Imax but I have never been and care more about the relaxed, quiet experience the Electric can offer and the cake.
They generally show one blockbuster film each week and one arthouse film. Something for everyone.
Really great little cinema, it's brilliant having a place that is so unique and friendly and not anonymous like the rest of the cinemas in this city. The programme is good - and I'm glad they have gone down the road of having the main films on there aswell as independent ones. You can be pretty sure though that obscure films that wouldn't make it to cineworld would be considered for the electric. The seating is perfectly comfortable, although you can pay extra for the sofas, I don't as I suspect I'd fall asleep. Ditto for the wine too! But it's nice to have the option. And the cakes and coffees make this place a great cinema to go to!
The electric city is a bit of a gem in cultureless birmingham.
great choice of films, great seats and great prices.
plus they have a bar with proper cocktails, homemade snacks and lovely staff. plus it's only two minutes away from new street station!
The Electric Cinema is the oldest cinema in the UK. The cinema is a sumptuous, luxury building with sofa seating and a full bar. You can enjoy the visual impulse using electric technology. I think the cinema is a good place to see a movie.
Really funky lil cinema, definitely worth the money as a little treat every now and then.
My favourite bit is texting you order for munchies and drinks while u watch the movie.. so you never miss a bit if you fancy that extra glass of vino!
Totally worth a visit!!
The eldest and still in-use cinema venue in the UK to this day is The Electric Cinema. Its location is slightly isolated from the busy bustle of Birmingham's city centre. The Electric Cinema screens all the latest Film Productions with a unique up-market customer service. I for one have been to every cinema in Birmingham's city centre and no cinema chain offers a service quite like The Electric Cinema! They host a large screen along with exceedingly relaxing sofas to lounge on during films for your enjoyment. It's safe to say that I was thoroughly impressed with the overall atmosphere of The Electric Cinema due to their personal waitressing service that provides delivery to your seat from confectioneries to refreshments, in which they will gladly serve you during your experience and through the film. However, the prices for The Electric Cinema are immensely charged and therefore wouldn't suggest using this cinema for every film that comes from Hollywood's blockbusters. Nevertheless, the experience is almost worth the extra money.
We hired the Electric for Christmas last year got some friends together and split the cost between us. Was a fab night.. I'd highly recommend it.
It's old, it looks nice, the seats are comfy and it sells darn good cocktails.
Oh, and it shows films. The best ones it can find.
What can I say about the electric cinema? Fantastic place in the heart of Birmingham where the cinema takes on a different meaning than the usual popcorn on the back of the head and annoying people talking and kicking the back of your chair. Don't get me wrong I love the cinema but this is a little bit special, this is why. You can sit on big black sofas, 2 people per sofa, it's very small and intimate, perfect for dates, and you can text the bar for drinks, alcoholic ones! they serve home made ice cream and snacks and they now have a great surround sound system, I could go on , just check the website out and you'll see what I mean. Oldest working cinema in England and it rocks trust me.
this place is brilliant, you can forget your multiplexes and your star city. This place is the oldest continually working cinema in the country. It has very comfy seats some old movies are shown aswell as the latest blockbusters. It is a good place to take your partner on a date to very cosy atmosphere and intimate, by the way this place also used to be an adult cinema in the past.
The Electric is definitely one of Birmingham's finer points. Bizarrely, despite its subtle class and retro appeal, it is never overcrowded and always has that uniquely personal feel of somewhere you've accidentally stumbled upon that happens to be amazing. It's decadent and glamourous without being over the top. The food on offer is high quality without being pretentious, and they manage to show both unusual independent and blockbuster films without losing that blissfully alternative feel. Definitely not one too miss.
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