It's an understatement to say that the Red Hill Skating Arena has been around for a while. The building (originally known as Red Hill Picture Pops) began playing films back in the 1920s until 1964, when it was converted into a live music venue hosting shows by Little Pattie, Col Joy and the Bee Gees. In 1965, it became what many of us grew up knowing it as the Red Hill Skating Arena until 2004 when it was destroyed by fire. Now, this old movie theatre has a new sense of life after a major renovation by the respectful Sourris brothers, who renamed the building "Red Hill Pops Theatre". With its grand cinema opening occurring last weekend, it was a must for this proud Brisbanite, to pay a visit to the iconic venue that has slipped past the developers, which now paves a path for preserving Brisbane's history and culture.
The owners went all out last weekend from laying the red carpet out, free face painting for those mini Elsa fanatics, to having your picture taken with the real Elsa and Anna from Frozen II. The exterior still hails the original artwork that many of us have grown up loving as we whiz past, such as the large Coca-Cola sign on the side, or the paintings of Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart out the front.
Walking in, you'll feel as if you stepped back in time to a younger Brisbane, where the interior is a trove of the old mixed in with the new. The old brick walls, the recycled canvas chairs from a cinema in Gynadah, the original graffiti artwork from well-known artists Sofles and Drapl, is combined with modern graffiti artwork and industrial decor.
The cinema candy bar facilities offers the traditional selection but has that extra pizazz by providing a gourmet selection, such as Arancini balls with Sweet Plum Sauce, Chicken Karrage and homemade Backlava for Gold Room guests. We had the Arancini Balls accompanied with a glass of Thompson Estate Sauvignon Blanc. The Arancini Balls were cooked to perfect and a delicious accompaniment with the Sauv.
The seats in the Gold Room were comfortable with plenty of room to spread out and relax in, while the staff attentively served us. The Red Hill Cinemas are now open with five cinemas screening daily and serves as a much needed haven from the summer heat. This iconic venue with its friendly, hip vibe, captivating history, attentive staff and current film listings is a must for all cinema and history buffs to experience. The cinemas offer Star Club memberships and Gift cards as Christmas pressies for film buffs. To check out these two gift ideas and screening times, visit www.fivestarcinemas.com.au/red-hill or 14 Enoggera Terrace, Red Hill.