This week two of my girlfriends and I went to see a special showing of the 1939 classic film Gone With the Wind at Dendy Opera Quays. It had been a long time since I’d been on a girls’ day out and even longer since I’d been to the cinema. What a forgotten delight!
Since YouTube, Netflix and Chromecast – okay, let’s be honest, since cinemas started charging $20+, per ticket – my hubby and I have taken to getting our movie fix at home. And we are not alone. Cinema halls are as empty as churches these days.
Remember the good old days of getting dressed up to go out to the movies? It was an event. There was a little bit of excitement and anticipation in the lead-up. And then the actual experience: The big screen, surround sound, luxury seats and total darkness that no home-theatre room I’ve ever been in has been able to replicate. The smell of hot buttered popcorn that no matter what you tell your husband, he just cannot capture at home – honestly, what is their secret ingredient?!
Perhaps I’m a bit slow on the uptake, but I feel as though I’ve discovered a hidden gem: Dendy Opera Quays. Sydney born and bred, I am extremely proud of and feel a close connection to our beautiful harbour. I frequent the Sydney Opera House to attend the ballet, opera and symphony. Each time I walk along the Circular Quay promenade leading towards the Opera House, I pass straight by Dendy Opera Quays. Unbeknownst to me, this venue has been for some time a cultural hub in its own right. Besides having one of the world’s most iconic and spectacular outlooks, the interior is a stylish and sophisticated throwback to the golden age of cinema.
It was the perfect location in which to indulge in watching a four-hour classic romance with the girls in the middle of the day, whilst everyone else we know was working. We were even served coffee or tea and freshly-baked scones with jam and cream. I didn’t know a place like this existed.
On looking into it, it turns out that Dendy regularly presents screenings of retro classics. The next one will be the legendary MGM musical The Band Wagon on Monday October 23. For $15 you get your ticket as well as either a complimentary morning tea for the daytime showing or a complimentary beverage for the evening showing. It’s only $12 for Club Dendy members.
If you think that’s a bargain, get this: 6pm weeknights is Happy Hour at Dendy Opera Quays. You can see some of the latest movies you may have missed, such as Atomic Blonde or Baby Driver, for just $7. Plus, you can grab two cocktails at the Candy Bar for $16. All three theatres are licensed, so you can take your drinks straight from the bar and enjoy them during the movie.
And it’s not just old movies. Another current special is the Dendy Dames screening of the brand new feature film The Mountain Bewteen Us on October 11 at 7pm. For $26 ($22 for Club Dendy members), you get the movie, a glass of sparkling and a goody bag jam-packed with treats, samples and vouchers.
Joining Club Dendy makes everything even cheaper. The cost of a single movie ticket buys you a two-year membership, which means discounted tickets for any session, all year round, plus 10% off at the candy bar. The points system allows you to earn free movies – after seeing four movies with your membership, your next movie is free. You can even bring a guest and get them in for the same price as you.
I’m so happy to have been reacquainted with the forgotten delight of going to the pictures, and at a price reminiscent of my 1990s childhood too!
Alicia Tripp is the Theatre Specialist for The Plus Ones, reviewing the premiere concerts, symphonies, operas, ballets and stage shows in Sydney. She is a seasoned arts and music critic, as a former journalist for the ABC Limelight magazine and State of the Arts. She has a degree in Media & Communications, English and Music from the University of Sydney.
Check out the Dendy events page for upcoming showings and specials: www.dendy.com.au/events.