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Wellington's best boutique cinemas

By Josie 24 May 2019 • 2 Comments

The home of Peter Jackson and Weta Workshop, Wellywood is a film lover’s dream destination. As well as playing host to a great line-up of annual film festivals, Wellington is home to unique and independent cinemas which make for an exceptional time at the movies. Here are our picks of the best boutique cinemas in Wellington for your viewing pleasure. 


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Penthouse Cinema, Brooklyn

Penthouse Cinema and Café

Seeing a film at the Penthouse in Brooklyn is a little like stepping back in time. Recognisable by its distinctive pastel blue and yellow Art Deco façade, the theatre opened in 1939 as the Vogue Theatre and has been showing great films ever since.

The schedule at Penthouse provides all the latest and greatest blockbusters and independent films and you can also catch a wonderful selection of opera, theatre and performance screened live from around the world. For a dinner and movie date, their café bar has a great burger menu or head over the road to the Salty Pidgin

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Lighthouse Cinemas

Lighthouse Cinema

There's nothing like a night with a great movie on the couch and Lighthouse has you covered with their comfy couch theatre seating. They show a diverse range of the most recent arthouse movies, a few of the best blockbusters as well as live theatre and opera from their three Wellington region locations; Cuba Street, Petone and Pāuatahanui.

This is a real boutique experience with excellent coffee, local craft beer and wine available to take into the cinema with you. Don’t miss Treat yourself Tuesdays with $11.50 tickets and their other great offers for students and seniors.

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The Roxy, Miramar

The Roxy Cinema

Located in the heart of Wellywood, The Roxy is a must-do for an oh-so Wellington evening at the movies. The Roxy building was originally home to Capitol Court which opened in 1928 to screen silent movies. On reopening in 2011, the cinema hosted a star-studded opening party with the cast of The Hobbit.

The cinema has its own oh-so classy bar and restaurant, Coco at the Roxy, where head chef Nic Spicer, creates exceptional international cuisine and award-winning bartender Ray Letoa serves up some of the best cocktails in Wellington. 

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Empire Cinema, Island Bay

Empire Cinema & Eatery

Island Bay's own historic cinema, the first film screened here in 1925 but the building was not used as a cinema for forty years until the cinema revamped and restored to its former glory in 2015. 

There's nothing more cosy than a night at Empire in one of their three boutique cinemas with built-in couch seating. The in-house eatery makes excellent coffee, plus there's a good range of daily-made cabinet food, kid-friendly meals, a brunch menu and classic movie treats like gelato and popcorn, which can all be enjoyed during your movie. 

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Time Cinema, Lyall Bay

Time Cinema

Time Cinema in Lyall Bay is about as local and boutique as it gets. The cinema was born nearly 40 years ago when local film buff John Bell and his wife Margaret began holding film screenings for friends and neighbours in their garage.

Today Time Cinema a family-owned private movie theatre and museum with a 40-seat cinema that can host private functions of all shapes and sizes. Sign up and become a member of their Cine Club and enjoy four monthly screenings for a membership fee. 

Add your comment

  • Michael Garlick on 25 May 2019

    Miro Street Cinema in Upper Hutt, which was the first original Lighthouse cinema, is truly superb, a great experience.

  • VW on 25 May 2019

    Lighthouse Cinema Petone! Best cinema ever. Survived the Kaikoura quake when its modern competitors didn't and remains a much-loved, pint-sized treasure of the local community. Great food. Great coffee. Impeccable taste in movies.

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