One of the most iconic cinemas in Ireland, Stella Theatre in Rathmines is reopening on the 31st October after being closed for over a decade.
Originally opening its doors in 1923, the theatre has been lovingly restored back to the glamour and glitz of the 1920’s, and I popped down last night for a special screening of Cinema Paradiso to experience the newest venue in Dublin. A cinema screen, refreshment bar and cocktail lounge combine to bring three new socialising spots.
It's one of the loveliest places I've been to in a long time - there's nowhere else quite like it in town. From the moment you approach the entrance there's instant old-timey vibes from the lit up sign, with a mosaic lobby floor and gilded chandeliers greeting you when you walk through the doors.
Straight away, you can tell this is somewhere really special.
Popcorn and Prosecco on tap?
The Refreshments Bar in the foyer is home to a selection of "cinema luxuries", all of which you can take into the cinema auditorium with you. Popcorn, sweets and all the usual suspects are joined by Prosecco on tap and quite a few beers, including Moretti.
Grab your bougie treats, take a seat in one of the cosy chairs while you wait and then make your way to the true showstopper that is the auditorium...
A screen lit up by soft lamps and a balcony overlooking an ornate ceiling await
Vintage-y lamps guide the way as you make your way to your seats that are large, luxurious red armchairs and comfy sofas made for two. Each comes with a leather pouffe that means even the tallest (a.k.a my 6ft5 boyfriend) of people can stretch their legs onto.
Glancing around at the buzz in the room and the original ceiling mouldings, it's like being transported back to a time where cinemas were the highlight of the month.
A speech by Stella Theatre director Karl Geraghty left no doubt in my mind that this has been a real passion project for all involved. "From birthday parties to learning how to dance upstairs in the cocktail bar", he said, "we try to pay homage to all these special moments in the Stella."
And you can feel the history in every single corner. Snuggling down into my armchair as the opening credits of Cinema Paradiso roll, I felt like I was on a first date in the 1920s.
There's even plush velvet beds at the front...
Warm snug blankets and dark wooden side tables for every chairs for two, this is unlike any other cinema in Dublin. Large double beds at the front of the screen add additional charm.
An upstairs balcony will soon also feature seats, overlooking the entire room below with a birdseye view of the screen.
Upstairs you'll find the swanky cocktail lounge
The Stella Cocktail Club has the décor, vibe and luxurious comfortability of its sister The Vintage Cocktail Club, and a bespoke cocktail menu to impress. With a glass atrium and a large front facing window overlooking the bustling Rathmines main street, the bar is flooded with natural light giving it a spacious and welcoming feel.
It also features a quaint outdoor terrace decked out in comfortable seats, perfect for sipping on movie inspired cocktails under the stars.
Tapas make up the food menu, with dishes such as mini Tacos with Sticky Korean Pork, Seabass with Lime and Jalapenos, and several varieties of Popcorn Bucket Homemade Fries. Yum.
And the attention to detail throughout Stella Theatre is outstanding
During the current restoration, some beautiful original 1920s features such as the orginal facade were uncovered, along with an art deco handrail that leads you up to the first-floor balcony.
Detailed mosaic tiling of the orignal Stella logo and even art deco inspired locks in the ladies toilets are just some of the subtle but beautiful touches you'll find here.
A lot of thoughtfulness and creativity has gone into the space, and it's paid off big time.
The Stella Theatre will be open for business seven days a week, starting October 31st, screening the newest movies.
Every Friday and Saturday they'll play host to the night owls of Dublin with a special midnight screening and also ensure young families are well entertained with weekend morning screenings.
It's a risk opening a one screen cinema in an age when people flit from one latest release to the next, but the Stella Theatre is more than just about seeing a movie; it's about taking the time to saviour a moment somewhere really special.
You're going to love it.
The Stella Cinema opens 31st October and will be showing Casablanca as its very first screening. Tickets go on sale here on Friday.