Picture House in Hackney

There were rumours a while ago, but now it looks like it is really happening. Picture House cinemas are taking over the Former Library and Ocean music venue to turn it into a 4 screen cinema. This is pretty exciting for Hackney and nice to see something aside from betting shops and supermarkets moving in. Hackney Gazette article


  1. That would be brilliant. Waiting for interesting venues and things to do making their way east along Hackney Road and up Mare Street has been a game for those with the patience of a saint.

  2. Ocean was a bit of a disaster, so let’s hope Picture house do better! What’s good is that if it has 4 screens it should always have something a bit less mainstream as well as the blockbusters. Walking to the cinema – sounds super ace 🙂

  3. This is good news, and not just on a personal level. It may have a positive effect on Hackney central.

  4. Something new for people to do here is great, but it’s a pity if it will bring about the final closure of Ocean. The Rising Tide training initiative was a fantastic resource, and the venues had outstanding sound. Ocean should have been a big draw to the area, but somehow never quite made it. Shame really…

  5. Is this a nail in the coffin for the hopes of a restored clapton cinematograph theatre? Definitely great to have a cinema in central hackney, and that is a good news story. Just don’t know whether there’s capacity for this place and clapton cinema and it always makes me sad to see the cinema and pub lying derelict when they could be so tramsformational for the area if they became a mixed use cinema / arts space.

  6. @philaldis do you know how that campaign is going, I haven’t seen much movement for a while

  7. I love the idea of a cinema in Hackney! The Rio is great, but to have a cinema in walking distance would be totally awesome. I just hope that it will not be all mainstream (and that prices will be affordable). Would definitely be good for the area.

  8. More info on this: http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23911824-hackney-ocean-waves-goodbye-to-grim-past-with-ritzy-revamp.doApparently, work is due to begin next month, and could be finished by October. The cinema will be part of the same group that runs the Ritzy in Brixton.

  9. I cannot physically wait for this to happen. I currently go to Genesis in Whitechapel (very cheap Mondays, thanks to student population) or some very expensive places in the west end. If the general ticket price is at or below the £10 mark I think they’ll be on to a winner, but I suspect it won’t be.

  10. Here are the proposals for the new Picture House– just some visuals at the moment and an outline of the refurbishment”

  11. It’s like it’s trying to have a shouting match with the Empire! I think I like it…

  12. @Martin: yes, I thought that too! But I don’t mind when the shouting comes from those kind of places 🙂

  13. I just spotted on @dalstonpeople that they have a facebook page that you can “like”
    And it has images like this on it:

    Picture house

    There is also a website: http://www.picturehouses.co.uk with details about how to become a “Founder member” and have your name and be part of a permanent installation : http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/Hackney_Picturehouse/Picturehouse_Membership/

  14. Oh, and it looks like they are heading to open in the Autumn

  15. I’ve just signed up – £30 for 15 months, extended for founding members.
    Also, I can confirm the cinema is scheduled to open the last week of October or the first week of November. Project managers were in the building today and confirmed that that timeframe is still realistic.

    It’s worth noting that Picturehouse members can also get discounts in other Picturehouse cinemas, plus there are things like 25% off in Gourmet Burger Kitchen nationwide and other benefits.
    I don’t want to do these people’s PR for them, but I do think it’s a genuine boost for the area as it continues to be regenerated through private and (less so) public investment.

  16. @patricksmithjournalist looks like a pretty good deal, I think I might join you

  17. It the Ritzy in Brixton is anything to go by, it’s going to be well worth it. It’s one of the best places to go drinking. This could even be a #twee8 destination, along with the Clapton Hart.

    Plus, founders get their name carved in stone (or something like that!)

  18. Its great news for hackney to get a good cinema. Picturehouse ran a cool cinema/art gallery in liverpool so if its anything like that one its going to be ace

  19. Picturehouse will be awesome, will be going all the time. I can final take use of the ElleUK Club (if you’re subscriber to Elle Magazine) it’s £5 membership to Picturehouse.

    The Clapham one is pretty nice. Also it’s not so much direct competition to Hackney Empire as that’s more theatre, they don’t show films there.

    I walked by on the weekend, seems like there’s \some” work being done to Ocean (always thought it was a too-nice-looking-to-be-wasted-venue though a friend told me once Stereophonics played there?).”

  20. Got my membership card today! Founding members get their names shown on the screen before every film – and enter a ballot to have their name on a permanent \art installation”. I can get discounts on the card at various places before the Picturehouse opens too.”

  21. Ballot? I thought it was just whether or not you were in the first thousand people to sign up. Have you seen anything that implies different?

  22. interesting progress. my guy is a skeptic and fiercely loyal to rio – he’s been ranting about he will *never* go. personally i don’t see it as a threat to the rio at all. this is another choice not a war or personal affront! until i’ve gone i can’t say how it will compare and even if i will compare. i love choice and will support local ventures for sure. really looking forward to the opening but probably won’t subscribe since i rarely go the cinema. exciting!

  23. I don’t think this is any threat to the Rio at all – they aren’t even physically close – it’s nice to have the option of more than 1 film at any time too

  24. I’ve just seen this via @DalstonDin on Twitter

    Picture House
    I’ll see it for reals when I am back in Hackney!”

  25. I got so excited seeing the hoarding this morning when I cycled pastthat I signed up as a member when I got to work.
    I’ve got a guilty feeling that I’ll be going here more often than The Rio .

  26. I also signed up as a founding member. Had to correct the spelling of my name though when I got the card through (I did it over the phone) but they are pretty helpful and sweet.

    I will certainly also keep my Rio membership going. I think they offer different enough programmes so that they won’t compete that much.

  27. I just saw this poll for the new bar at the Hackney Picture House (vote closes tomorrow) http://www.facebook.com/questions/252092214812620/?qa_ref=qd
    Really they should call it the Marie Lloyd!

  28. Just to let everyone know, the new cinema on Mare St. has a stall at Broadway in the Schoolyard Market, you can pick up memberships and info there every Saturday, join in and support!

  29. So work began today on adding the big ‘Picture House’ writing to the front of the building. Strangely it appeared to have been removed by this evening… Not long now til opening! Picture House O

  30. So work began today on adding the big ‘Picture House’ writing to the front of the building. Strangely it appeared to have been removed by this evening… Not long now til opening! “

  31. Did anyone go to the Picture House? How is it?

  32. Not yet, I just need to find where I put my membership card! @hackneyph what happened to the lettering that was going to be on the front of the building?

  33. Going tonight. Will report back.

  34. Well we had a great time watching Tintin 3D last night. Screen 1 is a good size and the seats are super comfy – they recline quite far back and are quite steeply banked so there won’t be any issues with big hair. The lobbies and stairwells are quite sterile, bare concrete but it’s not too bad. They have a small bar upstairs by the screens and the main bar on the ground floor seems ok although the food selection is relatively limited at the moment. We had a peek at the Hackney Attic on the top floor and it looks like a good space for live music. I’ll be back, especially as it’s not too far away and their membership package seems very reasonable.

  35. @ewebber the Big Letters are going up! Will go get a photo a bit later

  36. @mattyc wooop!

  37. more importantly is tintin worth it? i was disappointed by the previews and reviews but i so love me some tintin…

  38. Yeah I read the Guardian reviews. I reckon they’re wrong and just snarking for the sake of it.I thought it was very entertaining. The animation looks lovely, the 3D is done well and isn’t intrusive, the characters are great and it’s generally quite funny.But I’m a big Tintin fan so probably quite easily pleased…

  39. How much are the tickets? I heard it was nearly £12 with a booking fee – which is a little OTT imo – although you can get discount if you sign up for membership – I will try it out – but Hackney isn’t the place for a highly priced cinema.

  40. I did Orange Wednesdays so it was 2 for 1. I think it came to about £12 but that included 2 sets of 3D glasses (which you take home with you to reuse). I reckon it was closer to £9 a seat which is pretty much standard in London as a whole and a couple of quid more than the Rio. But the Picture House is more comfortable.

  41. The seats are immense! It’s so comfy! Plus finding your name on the roof of the booking office was fun, and the staff are really friendly. What a great addition to Mare Street and Hackney wider.I thought Tintin was good wholesome entertainment, and the graphics are intense.

  42. Its good to have a cinema nearby indeed and understandable that they show big movies and charge 12 quid to pay for all the investments made. However they could feature some non comercial stuff on decent evening times I think. So Hackney would have a democratic movies space where you can chose between big productions and small and documentaries as well.  Rio sometimes do it but at 2pm…

  43. @guilherme being a Picture House means that they do show films that are less mainstream and they also have events, they are certainly not a Cineworld.I’m going for my first visit later on with @saladefolle I’m really looking forward to it :)”

  44. I agree, just hope they keep like that. And having a Morricone special within a month its a great start! http://www.picturehouses.co.uk/cinema/Hackney_Picturehouse/News/Item/Morricone_In_Love_At_Hackney/

  45. finally went by and then into the picture house last night. impressions:very nice spacehard to see where you buy ticketsmachines where you can pick up prepurchased tickets but not purchase on the spotdecent bar but the draft taps weren’t workingmenu looked ok but the food passing by looked skimpy and average. has anyone eaten anything?delicious looking cake displaygiggly moment watching a waiter balancing (with deep concentration) a not very full cheeseboard with a pizza and chips on it – maybe his first job?the prices! cappuccino for 2.50? hm I am curious to know what others have found. I want to know if there is just the one big screen in there. Also what do you think of the prices of the tickets (non-member here) and the prices in the cafe. i was considering how the marie lloyd/empire started off with those high prices and have backed way down after figuring out their audience. On the other hand, the Empire cafe is closed a lot, has very few customers and The Picture House was packed with consumers who obviously weren’t too concerned about the cost. Is it just a novelty or have they hit on something?

  46. Went there last night. I thought it was really nice. I was in one of the smaller screens but it was a surprisingly good size. I usually resent paying ten quid to see a movie on a shitty screen hardly bigger than a flat screen tv. Like you, I’m a bit surprised by the price of the tickets, not quite Leicester Square prices but not far off. Hopefully, they’re still figuring out their audience. Having said that it was quite busy last night which proves that Hackney was crying out for a local cinema.

  47. With reference to Janice’s ( @calamityLDN ) post above; I am sorry that you found the skimpy and average to look at. The cheese board has some 300g of top quality cheese from Neal’s Yard Dairy which is double what most restaurant would offer (it certainly does not include pizza and chips!). The pizza is called a pizzette (\little pizza”) and is £3.50 which I hope is very reasonable. All our food is made freshly on the premises using only responsibly sourced ingredients. Our fish is line caught our meat from artisan suppliers using only the best quality (our sausage for example are artisan made using only top quality pork from rare breed ourdoor bred pork with no rusk or artificial fillers and the casing are natural and our burgers are made from 38 day aged chick skirt brisket with a little bone marrow and come in at only £7.50 including chips and coleslaw). I feel very strongly about the provenance of our food but unfortunately these ingredients do not come cheap and I have to pass on this cost to the customers. However you can rest assured that our margins are very low certainly lower than any other restaurant I know. That said I value your comments. The only way I am to get things right is by constantly consulting our customers. With that in mind I do hope you try our food sometime and let me know what you thought. I am always around and my kitchen door is always open so please feel free to ask for me and let me know of your thoughts. Nico RillaHead Chef Hackney Picturehouse.”

  48. @nicorilla thanks for that! a great reply. i wasn’t there during meal time so most of the food was of the snacking variety. having said that, i will be there for lunch quite soon and will look for you – there’s a challenge. the pizza price does sound reasonable and about that, i was commenting more on the heavy concentration and effort the poor waiter was having carrying his light load. even you would have found it amusing. meanwhile, recommend something for me – i don’t eat bread,  nor fried food, nor red meat and am allergic to sweet peppers! suggestions please. i also want to say this part of hackney needs needs needs more restaurants and i’m very pleased to see you there.

  49. Hi there, I am very excited about this new Picture House and restaurant (though, to be honest, I am not sure how often I will actually be able to afford to go given the prices) – I think Hackney was indeed crying out for this.  However, when I looked at the menu it seemed to me that, unfortunately, there wasn’t anything vegan on offer (which means I won’t be able to eat there). I am fully on board with using fresh and responsibly sourced ingredients, but it would be really great to have some vegan options on offer as well (especially if you care about sustainability and environment).  Any chance of that changing, Nico?

  50. I just wanted to add that Picture House cinemas take part in Orange Wednesdays which means 2 for 1 tickets if you or a friend is on an Orange contract.

  51. I have had a few people enquire about vegan food and whilst there’s not enough demand for me to put it on a permanent menu (although if you are able to eat yeast the peperoncino pizzetta is vegan) I regularly have salads of all different sorts on the daily specials menu . However if there is more demand I will have a vegan option on the menu. Should you give me notice I will happily rustle something up for you.Cheers.Nico

  52. I went to the first Film Quiz last night, up in the Attic. It was great fun (despite my woeful movie knowledge) and really well attended- I think the organisers weren’t quite prepared for the turnout!  Next one is on the 13th December and is (unsurprisingly) festive themed.This was a great chance to try out the new Picture House pale ale and the Hoxton Hopster (which I particularly liked) from @ldnfldsbrewery . Should also say to @nicorilla that the burgers and chips were amazing! http://www.flickr.com/photos/53893059@N05/6388524805
    Hoxton hopster

  53. A virtual tour of the cinema from Time Out: http://now-here-this.timeout.com/2011/11/28/take-a-virtual-tour-of-hackney-picture-house you can even see @umasaema ‘s name on the founder member installation (gutted that I didn’t buy my membership in time!)”

  54. Wow. It took me FOREVER to find my own name. Thanks Emily – well spotted! I still haven’t visited the place  yet. It looks really good, must go there soon.

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