Head to Beijing's Most Upscale Movie Theater for an Amazing V-Day Date

The lights went down, the credits rolled, and we sat back, eagerly awaiting the movie to begin.

Thankfully, we weren't crammed into hard, uncomfortable chairs, and we didn't have to raise our legs or squeeze over to let late patrons shimmy down to their own seats. There were no ringing cell phones, and no annoying ads before the coming attractions.

Instead, we got a more "boutique" experience at the recently opened Cinker Pictures in Sanlitun's Taikooli North. Granted, this recently opened, upscale cinema/bar/restaurant with retro decor doesn't screen new releases like conventional theaters, and purchasing tickets via the cinema's WeChat account (it's best to order ahead, ID: cinker-cinema-space) took a bit of getting used to for an old Luddite like myself, but these minor hitches didn't detract from an overall fun experience.

The theater's cushy leather seats and footrests made us feel like we were still at home (or, more aptly, at our imaginary impossibly rich friend's lavish new home theater). The free drinks that come with each movie ticket were also a nice bonus, considering they're delivered by a concierge once you're seated. We tried one of the film-themed cocktails – The Godfather –which was basically a Sazerac but nevertheless expertly mixed with a nuanced balance of sweet-and-bitter flavors. The cocktails come in at around RMB 100 per glass, so their zero kuai price tag with a movie ticket is more than welcome.

Granted, the stingiest of Beijingers might not want to fork over RMB 105 for a Cinker stub like we did (this will go up to RMB 150 after February but will still include a drink), especially to watch an older film that could easily be streamed, torrented, or stumbled upon while flicking through our TV channel's at home (we saw the acclaimed 2005 flick Brokeback Mountain, one of the two films being shown that night, the other being 1997's Lolita). There's also plenty of other potential patrons who would prefer to watch a more eye-popping 3D movie at a regular theater, something that Cinker decidedly lacks (but garners no complaints from us).

But any true movie buff will surely be quick to argue for Cinker's merits; the opportunity to watch a classic or a recent artsy flick with likeminded folks without the distraction and low quality of your laptop at home, or the lack of gimmicky 3D goggles you'd find at a conventional theater, not to mention the unique ambiance reminiscent of a vintage movie house. The picture and sound quality were clear throughout but nothing exceptional or mindblowing.

Attendees might want to try Cinker's adjacent restaurant, which serves upscale seafood and Western fare, though its approximate RMB 150 to RMB 230 per dish price range was too steep for us.

Even though we went the stingier route, we still enjoyed an excellent movie alongside a tasty cocktail in a venue with a distinct vibe, a treat that would play perfectly for a date or special occasion.

Add Cinker Picture's official WeChat account (ID: cinker-cinema-space) for a list of film showings and other news.

More stories by this author here.
Email: kylemullin@truerun.com
Twitter: @MulKyle
WeChat: 13263495040

Photos: Cinker Pictures


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