In this high-tech age where you can watch just about anything you want at any time, there remains something rather charming about old-school, independent movie theatres.
The Labia Theatre in Gardens has been around since 1949, and, happily, little has changed over the decades. When you step through its doors, you’re transported back to the way things were when your grandparents treated themselves to a night out at the cinema (or, cinemarr as the old folk pronounce it).
Unlike modern movie theatres, the Labia has managed to retain an air of refinement. People dress up just a little bit. In constrast to the huge, featureless cinemas you find in malls, seeing a movie there feels special – like an occasion.
The Labia is, in fact, the oldest indie art-repertory cinema in South Africa. It was opened by Italian Countess Labia as a theatre for staging live performances. Many of its original features, such as its ticket booth, sweets counter, and even its seats remain the same.
Instead of boxes of overpriced, slightly stale popcorn, this quintessential movie snack is served freshly popped, hot and delicious. If you’re looking for something more substantial, the deli sells an assortment of tasty pies, samoosas and quiches to keep your tummy from rumbling.
Best of all, the adjoining bar allows you to take a glass of wine, beer, cider or even a cocktail into the movie with you. Which really feels quite decadent. Go a little while before your movie starts, sit yourself at a table and enjoy the atmosphere and the feeling of being transported back in time.
Everything – including the tickets – is really inexpensive. And, there are some very good deals going on at the moment. So, grab the chance to experience a living slice of Cape Town’s history and take your favourite person out on an old-fashioned movie date.
Labia Theatre movie deals
Monday and Tuesday: For R110 you get two movie tickets and two pastas at lovely neighbourhood restaurant, Societi Bistro.
Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday: For R110 you get two movie tickets and two pizzas at Diva Cafe Restorante on Buitenkant Street.
Thursday: For R150 you get two movie tickets and two burgers at Knead on Kloof Street.