Going to the cinema isn’t much of an experience these days. Messy seats, crap nachos and popcorn which, if bought by the ton, would require a mortgage style loan. Thankfully, retro is hot right now and it’s leading to some great alternatives. Token is one of the coolest experiences in Dublin with great food, beer and tons of retro games. Retro is now rocking in Rathmines as the Stella Theatre is a trip back in time to when your aul pair were courting.
We popped along to the Stella to check out their Back to the Future matinee; it seemed fitting.
What is the Stella Rathmines?
The Stella Theatre, which is once again being affectionately referred to as simply the Stella, was originally opened in 1923. When it opened, it could seat 1,283 cinema goers, making it Ireland’s biggest cinema at the time.
Today, the Stella has reopened after an extensive refurbishment process and it maintains much of its 1920’s charm. As I mentioned, we were there for Back to the Future and it did feel like we’d just travelled back in time. The place oozes class. You can sit in either a large and very comfortable red leather single seat or a two-seater couch. There is also a matching red leather footstool for extra comfort which opens up to store your jacket away. It really is the little things that make an experience great.
If sitting is a little too modern-day cinema for you, there’s also the option of a two-person bed when you can lie down and watch the movie. Each place costs €19 so single seats cost €19, while couches and beds cost €38.
Food at the Stella
I already mentioned Token as being one of the best retro spots in Dublin and one of their big selling points is their food. I’m far from being a foodie, but they’ve passed the test with plenty of people who know what they’re talking about, namely the Ketty, the French Foodie in Dublin. If you’re running any sort of experience in Dublin, Token has set the bar for food. Stella saw the challenge and took it on nicely.
Two days earlier, I had been in one of your usual cinemas staring at some nasty nachos and melted cheese. While the Stella is a cinema, the selection of food is incredible, so incredible that I ordered more than I planned. The portions aren’t massive, but they are supposed to be tapas style with three or four being plenty for two. Before you ask, yes someone was with me, hence the huge order:
- Chilli beef nachos, guac, sour cream and melted cheese
- Chicken taco with avocado, sour cream, spring onion and cajun mayo
- Because brunch there was also sausage, fried egg and hollandaise
- Slow cooked Sticky BBQ Korean pork taco with iceberg lettuce
- Along with a Coke and a coffee
All of that came to about €35, which is class. Better still, I didn’t even mention that it gets brought out to your seat and placed on a table beside you. Most importantly, it was damn tasty. Unfortunately, it was too dark to snap a pic of the grub which does lead me to one tip. Arrive early and enjoy your grub before the movie starts. Eating in the dark is a little weird! Beyond that it’s a classy experience all around, exemplified by their drinks menu.
The Stella also has a broad selection of cocktails and beers on site but I had the car so I couldn’t sample them. From what I’ve seen in terms of selection alone, the drinks menu is just as impressive as the food menu if not more so.
Much like the vibe of the cinema, the movie selection is largely retro too. We went along for Back to the Future but at 11.55pm that night, the more modern Great Gatsby which was probably amazing given the flapper style of the cinema itself. Midnight movies are a regular occurrence in the Stella along with screenings of classics, but contrary to popular belief, they will also be showing some of the latest movies too. The next entry in the Star Wars saga will have a huge number of screenings.
Verdict on the Stella
The Stella is an incredible experience. The food is amazing and for the experience you get, it’s great value. It might not replace your regular cinema for the weekly trip out, but you’ll find yourself coming back to the Stella again and again.
— Stella Theatre (@StellaDublin) October 24, 2017