Fresh films, fresh air: Lido’s outdoor cinema is back

Did someone say beanbags, blankets and outdoor movies? Oh, that’s right – Lido did! Our prayers have been answered – we no longer have to watch movies solely on our laptops and screens, we can now go to a cinema and have someone else pop the popcorn for us. We decided to do just that. Two tickets to Hillbilly Elegy and a couple of blankets and we were good to go.

Initially, I was nervous about going to the open-air cinema. I’d never been before and didn’t have high hopes. I was pleasantly surprised. Lido on the Roof is hosted on the top of Lido, and they did a magnificent job of setting it up. There was plenty of space for everyone to socially distance themselves, with chairs having adequate room in between themselves. It was worth coming up just for the view – you could see almost all of Hawthorn from it, and it was very serene to watch the trains pass through the station.

On the other side of the rooftop was a well-equipped bar, which opened one hour prior to the listed session time. There was seating and tables around the bar too, allowing you to enjoy a drink with a view. Although there was a variety of drinks available – everything from cocktails to beers – we played it simple: a beer and a wine, and we had our drinks while watching people walk on the streets below.

About ten minutes before the movie had started, we realised we’d forgotten a crucial component of going to the movies – popcorn – and dashed down to the first floor to pick up a box. Note: there’s something for everyone. I was impressed at the variety of both meals and snacks available and was very tempted to try a vegan choc-top, which I’ve heard are very good. Next time…

With popcorn in hand, we returned upstairs, picked up our headphones and settled down. The chairs were roomy and comfortable, and I appreciated that they could be adjusted to allow you to lie down more, if you’d so wish.

The only outdoor cinema I’d ever experienced was the drive-ins, and this was significantly comfier, from seating to sound. The headphones give you the opportunity to adjust the sound, so if you can adjust them to your preferred settings. As someone who prefers things on the quieter side, I really appreciated that.

The experience was, all round, a great success. We’d chosen a perfect day for it: it had been hot during the day, but once the sun set, the heat dropped, and we could enjoy the movie without a worry. But even then, had it been a cooler day to begin with, there were plenty of blankets available. Hillbilly Elegy was also a great choice: it was tense with enough comedy to break it up and raised a number of questions about the cycle of poverty. And lastly, the set-up was phenomenal. From start to end, things went smoothly. When we arrived, everything was set-up, we were able to get a drink and relax before the movie started; it was comfortable to watch the movie; and afterwards, we simply returned the headphones and went on our way.

Whether you’re a cinephile or casual watcher, you won’t be disappointed. Lido Cinemas have clearly put a lot of thought into their Lido on the Roof events – and it’s paid off. We had a great time and would gladly return again – and when we do, I’ll definitely pick up that choc top.

– Daniela

Daniela Koulikov is a freelance writer who loves movies, brunch and DIY kits. You can follow her at @danikoul.

Lido Cinemas is up and running again. For more information on all of their available movie options, take a look at their website.

The Plus Ones were invited guests of Lido Cinemas.
Image credit: Lido Cinemas