“ 10 Shiprow, Aberdeen. tel = 0845 6020266 „
The front entrance of the Lighthouse is just off the top end of Union Street, on Shiprow. Unlike UGC there isn't any parking, but it's conveniently so near our bus routes that we don't need cars. (Score one for the enviroment.) It's where ABC used to be; only it's better. Like the Odeon, which sadly closed down this year, queue time for tickets is usually very short. Also like the Odeon, ID isn't an issue. The guy at the desk mistook us for students (can he see into the future?) so we all got in for £3 each - a saving of over £12 collectively. The girl in charge of checking tickets didn't question our right to study, so we didn't need our non-existant student cards. (Score one for us.) There are tables and chairs near the entrance with leaflets detailing film times, and flat screens on the walls showing trailers for old movies. If you're waiting for a friend (or plural friends) then feel free to take a seat. Nearby is the place where food is sold - popcorn anyone? It's about £3 a tub. Near that is a wide corridor. You have to get past this to get to the screens, so this is where they check your tickets. They point you in the direction of the film you're going to see - upstairs - downstairs - and you toddle off to find your screen. (There are about 7 in total.) Since no one checks up on you beyond this point, you could theoretically buy a ticket for one film and decide to pop into the screen next door instead. We toddled off upstairs to see Shrek (for R., it was her 4th time...) because the showing of Moulin Rouge had been cancelled. (It *was* advertised outside, but the guy at the desk decided that was wrong. He actually wasn't sure, so M.R. *could* have been on and he just wasn't selling tickets for it... False advertising, or what? But for £3 we didn't mind...) Anyway. We like the Lighthouse. We get in as students, we pick our own seats (which are comfy) a
nd the back entrance leads out into Union Street where we can go and buy things. At the moment, the Lighthouse is showing: A.I., The Fast And The Furious, Moulin Rouge, Scary Movie 2, A Knight's Tale, Planet Of The Apes, Rush Hour 2, Cats And Dogs, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, Dr Dolittle 2 and of course Shrek. You can book online, over the phone (0845 60 20 266) or do what we do - drop in randomly. That's the advantage of it being in a central location - no planning required. The only other cinema in the area that hasn't shut down in the Belmont. But that's a different story...
The Lighthouse cinema is the newest cinema to open up in Aberdeen and boy did we need it! Even though Aberdeen is a large city, the choice of cinemas has always been a bit poor. When I first moved here 5 years ago, Aberdeen didn't even have a multiplex. Two years later one eventually arrived down by the beach. However, this wasn't the most accessible place as buses were poor and you really needed a car to get to it. There were also two cinemas in town but one shut down due to the competition from the multiplex. The other cinema struggled to survive as it was situated towards the outskirts of town with no parking. It was much easier for people to drive to the multiplex where they could go for a meal or a drink before or after the film. However, last year some brave people decided to revamp and reopen the cinema that had closed down. This was an excellent idea in my opinion as it had a fantastic setting. The Lighthouse cinema is set just off Union Street which is the main shopping street in Aberdeen. It is so easy to pop into the cinema as it is not out of your way and it is near lots of pubs so you can have a drink before or after the film. The cinema only opened about 3 weeks ago but I was extremely curious to see what it was like! They have done a fantastic job in refurbishing the place. They have added more screens (7 in all) so it now has the same choice of films as the multiplex and is well laid out. The entrance is quite impressive and puts you in the mood to see a film. It has little sparkly lights all over to give it that "Hollywood" feel and the door was opened for us by a man who looked as though he also acted as a bouncer. I've thought for a long time that there should be bouncers in cinemas but that's another story! The first thing that hits you when you walk in is the sense of space. There is load of room to meet friends, pick up tickets and generally hang about until your film
starts. You don't need to buy your tickets here - you can either book them over the phone (0845 60 20 266) or you will eventually be able to book them over the internet (whenit gets online!) on the cinemas web site (www.lighthouse-cinema.com). I'm sure that lots of the women out there will agree with me when I say that they have placed a site of major temptation in the foyer. They have a Haagen Dazs ice-cream bar. I couldn't look at it for fear of succumbing to temptation but I know that there were quite a few flavours on offer! For those of us without such a sweet tooth there is also a very long counter where you can buy popcorn, juice, hotdogs, nachos and bags of sweets. This counter is really well staffed so you shouldn't have to wait long to get served. Moving onto the actual theatre I was very impressed. The seats are big and don't flip up which is lovely for those of us with short legs. For those taller people, there is plenty of legroom so you don't have to sit with your knees up at your chin. One great idea is the double armrests so you don't have to fight with your neighbour for control of the rest; there's enough room to share. The screen in our theatre was huge and is certainly the largest screen I've seen outside an IMAX theatre. I'm not sure if all the screens in the cinema are of such a large size but they do boast about the size of their screens! The sound quality was wonderful, as you would expect for such a large cinema with noises scaring you from behind to keep you on your toes. One of the most important factors in going to the cinema is price. When you are a family of four it can prove to be an expensive evening out. The prices for the Lighthouse are fairly standard. The prices are as follows - Adult - £5.50 Children (14 years & under) - £3.75 Senior citizens - £4 Students - £4 Family (inc. at least 2 kids) - £15 Not too bad for a family I suppose
but when you add on the price of all those sweets and drinks! If you are rich or just feel like splashing out for that special film, you can get Premier tickets. Premier tickets include the movie, your first choice from selected bar items (choose from alcoholic drink, soft drink or hot/cold snack) and seats in a specially designated area of the cinema. This area is situated up the back where there are tables for your drinks and snacks and wine coolers (!) built into the extra wide luxury seating. Not bad I suppose but I don't think I'd be willing to pay £10.50 (Fri-Sun) or £9.50 (Mon - Thur) for the privilege! Overall I was impressed by the new cinema apart from the fact that they only had two ladies cubicles in the toilets (unless there were others that I never found!). I will definitely be going back, as it is so easy to get to and is as good as the larger chain multiplex cinemas.