It’s summer time! While it may be getting warmer outside and ready for some outdoor fun, there are SO many good movies coming out for the upcoming awards season. Why not combine both with an outdoor cinema experience? I was surprised to find that there is more than one outdoor cinema operating this summer so we are travelling around, visiting them all to let you know which one you should visit this summer season.
We started with Openair Cinema, this is hosted by American Express and my local venue is St Kilda Beach. While the country is experiencing high temperatures, Melbourne is yet to suffer the same fate as on our visit it was a top of 17 degrees. The freezing cold wind aside, we arrived at the venue ready to watch Maleficent : Mistress Of Evil equipped with winter coats and jumpers ready to rug up. The website stated that 6pm the venue would open and there would be live music, the gates didn’t open till 6:30pm and there was no live music. Fortunately there is so much to do I didn’t even realise it wasn’t there.
We got through the gates and were escorted to our section in the American Express Lounge. Here we were greeted by our server for the night who would order food for us, bring us drinks, popcorn refills and make sure we were having a good time. Our server told us “the idea is you don’t have to leave this bed the whole night!” and while we did a couple of times (mainly to pee!) it was the most relaxed I have been at the movies in a long time.
Upon arrival we received a choice of glass of wine, beer or there are soft drinks available. There was also unlimited popcorn on offer so that was a no brainer! There are a couple of food offerings for dinner including pizza, pasta, salads and italian fries courtesy of a wood fire oven inside the grounds. We ordered the seafood pizza and italian fries (with a couple more rounds of drinks) while we watched the sun set on St Kilda beach. While the wind was freezing, it was an absolutely magical experience. Our server kept checking on us to make sure we had everything we needed and made sure we went and saw what else was on offer.
Byron Bay Cookies have a prize wheel with free spins that can win you free drinks, movie tickets and of course cookies! It was a great touch to the night and the staff made sure everyone had a turn and was having fun along the way. After winning some cookies to add to our massive calorie intake for the night, we headed back to our inflatable bed to get wrapped up in our blankets, order another bottle of wine and settle in as the movie began.
The waiter service to your bed stops as the ads and movie preview’s end so make sure you order up, don’t worry if you forget, the bar is open for the duration of the movie so you can still get snacks and drinks. The movie is projected onto a huge inflatable screen with a surround sound setup that really makes the movie come alive. While we did love the movie (you can read my review here ) this review is for the outdoor cinema experience.
There are a couple of other options as well, the Amazon Prime Video Lounge has another section in front of the screen offering a bean bag, blanket hire, wait service, popcorn and a glass of wine. This section is separate to the American Express lounge area so there is plenty of wait service for everyone. If you want to bring your own chairs or picnic rug there is plenty of space as well with admission only entry available. Speaking of while you can purchase food, you can bring your own in. The only exception to this is alcohol, there is no outside alcohol allowed and they do perform bag searches. You also can’t bring any knives into the venue so leave this things at home or in the car. As the weeks get warmer you will definitely use the Haagen Daazs ice cream stand which is included in the American Express Lounge and you can purchase small individual snack parts or family size pints.
It was an incredible night out and was truly a remarkable event. The bean lounge was incredibly comfy and the attentive wait service made this an extremely memorable movie experience. This would be a perfect date night for two, a family sat in front of us with their own chairs and inflatable lounges. The kids were having an absolute blast spinning the wheel and enjoying the electric atmosphere. The venue is also dog friendly so if you are wanting to bring your pooch, you can. It was truly an experience I won’t forget and definitely one I will be adding to my calendar for future events, and you should too!
Make sure you check out the American Express Openair Cinema schedule here
St Kilda is the second stop in Victoria of the tour before the screen pops up at the University of Sydney early January and Bondi Beach early February. Sydney is the fourth stop of the Trans-Tasman American Express Openair Cinemas tour which will go on to captivate audiences in Canberra, Auckland and Christchurch.