London has got a new favorite cinema

London has voted and it has a new favorite place to watch movies: The Ritzy in Brixton has been named as the city’s selection of cinemas in a new poll.

Like a popcorn-bearing comet, The Ritzy has run up in Time Out’s reader selection of the city’s best cinemas, takes the top spot from Whitechapel’s Genesis (still a magical venue, natch), and anchor the Brixton venue’s place in the hearts of locals.

One of London’s oldest purpose – built picture houses, Ritzy has been an iconic Brixton institution since it opened in 1911 and even survived Blitz. “It has stood the test of time,” says manager Wayne Hall.

It’s the kind of place that brings people together, and not just strangers in the café, who commit to their shared love of niche film genres. Its inevitable readograph (signposted at the front of the building), which was rescued from a deserted Hammersmith cinema, has over the years facilitated romcom-style wedding proposals and written “Will you marry me?” for the whole of Windrush Square to see. “What I love most is community involvement,” Hall says. ‘People stop and stare and take pictures.’

The cinema’s film offerings range from big blockbusters to special prices (Icelandic folk-horror, anyone?), And Upstairs at the Ritzy hosts events like Reggaeoke, rare soul nights and the regular Queenstown sessions on Tuesday night. The Ritzy is much more than just a cinema, it is a cultural center where, as Hall says, ‘there is something for everyone’.

Find out which other picture houses are on our list of London’s 25 best cinemas.

The 50 most beautiful cinemas in the world.

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