“ The Forge, 1221 Gallowgate, Glasgow, G31 4EB. „
Now before I start, this topic is for UGC cinema, Glasgow. The address at the top of the page mentions the UGC cinema at the Forge, but I'm going to review the newer UGC cinema in Glasgow that can be found on Renfew Street.
The UGC on Renfew street was only completed a few years back and is the tallest cinema in Europe. With 19 screens, you are almost guaranteed to be able to pop in at any time and catch a movie that's "up your street". It is easy to find...in fact, it's rather hard to miss as you can see it towering above the other buildings and can walk there easily from Buchanan Street.
There are signs outside the cinema doors showing cinema times, but there are also screens suspended from the ceiling inside with cinema times displayed on them. Unlike other cinemas, these screens aren't hidden away behind the ticket desks or in hard to read places, but are very easy to view and give clear information. There are also booklets and film magazines placed near them, so if you haven't heard of a film, you can look it up and see what it's about before deciding and joining the queue.
The ticket prices are fair. I'm a student and can get in to this cinema for cheaper than any other in my area. Generally, student tickets cost £4, but here they used to cost £3 at certain times of the day and £3.50 at others, although I paid £3.75 for a ticket the other day, so it seems prices may have went up a little.
Once you've got your ticket, you can make your way to the escalators or the lifts. Sometimes there are staff here to take your ticket, although sometimes staff are stationed outside your screens to do that job. If you're in the 19th screen for your showing, be prepared to be on the escalators for some time. The lifts are probably the more sensible option if you're on one of the top floors, but be warned that one of them (the one at the end beside the window) is clear glass so you can look out onto the street below as you travel upwards, so if you're afraid of heights, you'd be best to avoid this one. Unfortunately, the lifts are mirrored, which always makes me a bit self-conscious, especially if I'm coming out of a movie after guzzling a tonne of popcorn and sweeties and suddenly realise my jeans are seeming a bit tight!
On the first floor up there is a bar where you can have drinks or food while you wait on your movie. I think this is a nice, novel idea, even though I'm not keen on bars and pubs myself. It is modern and contemporary with comfy seats and a chilled out atmosphere, but as you can imagine, it can be rather busy on a Friday or Saturday night. There is also some signed movie paraphanalia on this floor, with the most notable thing probably being the huge signed Star Wars: Attack of the Clones poster.
Each floor has some small chairs outside the cinema foyer has posters on the wall, with a small screen playing trailors, so you can grab a wee seat here if you don't fancy the bar but are still to early for your movie. Each floor also has it's own refreshments area, which means the queues are generally smaller for buying your sweets. The refreshments areas are also set out like shops, which is a nice change as you can wander about picking up whatever you fancy and taking your time deciding what you want to buy. There's plenty to choose from, much more than your average cinema. Of course, there is popcorn and the usual fizzy juice, but there's also a large range of bagged sweets. Not just the usual suspects of Revels, Minstrels, Malteasers and the like, but more unusual sweets too like Starburst Sea Monsters. There is a huge pick and mix stand, and also an ice cream cabinet where you can buy not only Haagan Dasz and the usual tubs, but Magnums, Cornettos etc. Pringles are on sale, as are the expected hot dogs. You can even buy Chupa Chups lollypops! They also have bottles of juice and cartons on sale, which I prefer to the big cups you can buy at ordinary cinemas, and bottles and cartons would probably be the better choice if you were bringing kids. However, their prices are high, and I would say they are dearer than other cinemas when it comes to sweets. I usually buy a bag of Revels when I go to the cinema, and they usually set me back no more than £1.70, but here they cost £2.05. However, since this cinema is in the heart of Glasgow, it is easy to pop into a shop and buy your sweets before going into the cinema...not that I'm a stingy Scottish person or anything!
The top floor is the exception to the rule. It doesn't have its own refreshment area like the lower floors, but has some vending machines, therefore it doesn't have quite the same choice, but does sell the usual big bags of Revels etc. and bottles of water and Coke, so it does me fine. This floor also has tables and leather chairs to sit at, and some of these are beside some large windows, to make a little viewing gallery area where you can sit and watch the world go by far below.
Each floor has a set of doors at the end of the refreshment area (or viewing gallery in the case of the top floor) and these lead to the screens and toilets. The screens usually have TV screens next to the doors showing when the film starts, ends etc. but recently these haven't been on when I've been in to see films. The toilets are modern, clean and well-equipped with loo roll in my experience. The doors of the toilets are quite heavy, but the doors of the actual cinemas weigh a tonne. No doubt this is to better sound-proof the cinema, but I could imagine that this would cause a lot of difficulty for elderly visitors or could even pose a risk to a child.
Inside the cinemas are always comfy and clean. The screens are large and the sound quality is good. You can rarely hear noise coming through from other screens, although I've experienced this problem in many other multiplexes. You've got plenty of room to move around in the well padded seats, and there is loads of leg room.
The UGC also offers an unlimited cinema pass for £9.99 a month, although the small print states that you must sign up and pay this fee for 12 months. I've never took advantage of this myself, as I only go to the UGC when I'm in Glasgow and have got spaces in between classes, and I don't know if it'd be worth my money paying for this pass. However, if you live in Glasgow and are a regular cinema go-er, this might be worth looking into, as it also allows you the chance to go to special preview showings and the like.
The staff are usually fairly friendly and very efficient, and always look smart in their uniforms (blue shirts and black trousers). I've only had one bad experience in this cinema and that was a few years back when it had just opened and they'd displayed the wrong times for some movies, the place was chock-a-block and the queue was moving at a snails pace and it was just a horrible, stressful experience. However, I've been in it plenty of times since then and experienced no problem. Mind you, I don't know if I'd fancy braving it on a Friday or Saturday night as I'm sure it would be packed, so I usually go during the day to this cinema, and elsewhere if I'm going to see a movie at night.
It plays a nice mix of films. Since there are so many screens, it can play all the mainstream films and some more unusual ones, and it can be good to go along and see something a bit different from time to time.
I would recommend this cinema to anyone. It is one of the best, well-equipped cinemas I've been to, and you're sure to get to see a movie that interests you. If you're ever in Glasgow go check it out...and make sure you go to the top floor and soak in the view!
UGC I believe are a French cinema company. The bought the Virgin Cinema chain recently and one of those was the partially built UGC Cinema in Renfrew St, Glasgow. Now prior to the opening of the cinema I was a patron of Odeon who provided a good service, I was totally blown away by UGC though. The cinema in question is housed right in the City Centre. First impressions last and the creme and brown building almost dominates the Glasgow city centre skyline and can be seen from several streets away. Upon arriving at the cinema I was staggered at the vast array films to watch. The fact there are so many films on show is down to the 18 screens the cinema has, which are housed over the top five levels. The prices in the Cinema are an average priced £4.50 and the do have several pre dinnertime showings for £3.00. The also have something a bit special which I will cover later. Having purchased my tickets (The film I watched was The Others btw), I made my way up the escalators to the first floor. Needless to say I was impressed to find that this floor was home only to an alcoholic bar. The bar has both a smoking and non-smoking area and also sells bar snacks. The prices for refreshments here are pretty reasonable by city centre standards. Burgers come in at around £4 and a glass of coke around 90p or £2 for a pint of lager. Suitably impressed with my first taste of a bar in a cinema I decided to go the screen. As it happened we were on the top floor, the journey to the screen was made easier by both up ad down escalators between the floors and lifts. I recommend only using the lifts during quiet periods as they get full easily. There are a series of screens on each floor, usually comprising of 1 large screen and several smaller ones. Each series of screens has a foyer, which contains the refreshment area. The prices here are somewhat on the hefty side and I wouldn?t really recommend it. I tend to bring my own sweets, drinks and cr
isps, as I am not willing to pay £2.05 for Pringles. However the products are good, the Popcorn caters for fans of both sweet and salty and the hot dogs are particularly good. Each screen has a monitor by the entrance door, showing the film, certificate, technology used and seating capacity. Therefore making it simple to find your screen. I reliable informed that UGC only use Dolby Digital and this is no the most advanced sound system. It sounds fine to my untrained ear though. The auditoriums themselves are well designed and have plenty of legroom (the large screens in particular). There appears to be a slight lack of ushers in the auditoriums but there are always several on hand just outside should you require them. Now so far you will be thinking the Cinema sounds pretty good. Lots of screens and a bar should have guaranteed that response. It does in fact get better. UGC are the only cinema to offer an UNLIMITED PASS to all their cinemas. What that means I you can view every single film ever released. Now you would expect something as good as that to be pretty expensive and so did I. Suprisingly this ticket cost the measly sum of £9.99 a month. A catch you say, we'll yes there is a small one. You have to take a yearly subscription out either by Direct Debit or in cash upfront. It is certainly worth it though; in my first month I saved £20 alone and saw 6 films for only £10. The only restrictions seem to be that you can pre-book except for showings the same day and you cant have tickets for films that overlap. It seems you can get tickets and give them (or sell them ;-)) to your mates if you are that way inclined. Unlimited Passes are also not valid for a handful of London cinemas. There is also a large Australian theme pub and a Jongleurs comedy club housed adjacent to the Cinema in the same building. I?m a film buff but until recently I have found that cinema becomes expensive if you want to watch several films a month. UGC ar
e making cinema far more accessible and enjoyable. Anyone from the are should try this place out!