“Hurry up and get dressed,” said my flatmate, James 1. “We need to leave.”
“I am dressed,” I said sulkily. And it was true, because if you can’t wear your ugliest hoodie and voluminous elephant-print trousers to an outdoor movie screening, then, well, when can you wear them? (Except of course inside, with all the curtains drawn. Alone. In the dark.)
We arrived at Backyard Cinema’s box office 40 minutes before the show began, James 1 looking like a normal human being, me looking like a post-apocalyptic boat person. (I was also carrying an enormous stripey beach bag containing a pair of flight socks, a cardigan and a fleecy blanky.) We were there early to get in line for our dinner from Honest Burgers, who this year are collaborating with BYC for some heavy-duty cinema snacks (although there is the traditional popcorn available too, made fresh, ‘nitro ice cream’ from Chin Chin Labs and fancy-pants pick ‘n’ mix).
They are currently flipping their wares from a van, which seems a bit ridiculous as there is a proper Honest Burger restaurant RIGHT THERE (like, literally opposite), but either way I’d plan dinner around one of their burgers because a) they are big but not so big you can’t easily palm it right into your fat face, b) their rosemary fries are fantastic and c) they do gluten-free buns if wheat gives you a dicky tummy.
The Brooklyn Brewery were also on hand to pour lager and ‘Summer Ale’ (and wine too, if you’re not a beer drinker. At £7 for a small glass though, you’re best off buying a whole bottle for £25. *hic*) When it was time for the show – Kingsman, which is fantastic btw – we took our seats on the bean bags in the front half of the ‘auditorium’, which aren’t really bean bags at all but enormous, squishy bean chairs. They looked far more comfortable than the deck chairs further back, and the view is universally excellent, so pick those if you can.
We all know that London does not count warmth among its many virtues, but there are blankets on hire for a quid and they have ponchos ready to hand out in the event of rain. They are quite thin though – think airplane blankets – so if you have a good snuggly throw at home, bring that along too.
In a world of soulless cinema complexes and lips ‘n arsehole-stuffed Herta Frankfurters, London’s explosion of indie cinemas and pop-up screens is rather a lovely thing. (Doubly so when teamed up with matching indie burger joints.) There are quite a few out there this summer, but BYC is one of the classier affairs; they’ve got a permanent spot, so they’ve worked hard to make it really nice, and they’re one of the only outdoor cinemas to screen recent blockbusters as well as old classics. This year, they also have a smaller, more intimate ‘Cuban Screen’ showing indie and arthouse movies. Movie-only tickets cost £16.50, but you can add a drink for £20 or a drink and a burger for £29. The Cuban Screen costs just £14.
Some showings are now sold out, but there’s still plenty left to choose from! Check out the listings on the website; BYC is playing until 5th September 2015.
Backyard Cinema, Camden Market, Camden High Street, London NW1 8NH
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in Islington and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.