Tuesday, September 30, 2003

New UGC Cinema

New UGC Cinema

The UGC Cinema on Parnell Street has had a dramatic makeover. When UGC replaced the old Virgin Cinema, a renovation was not necessary as the building had only been open for a few years. But over time, demand has outgrown supply and it was not uncommon to see long queues stretching from the main entrance all the way to the back of the building. When the unsuccessful IMAX screen from next door was removed, it created the ideal location for a brand new, state of the art building. The first phase of UGCs €13M investment opened on Friday September 5th. Currently there are nine state of the art screens open, with a further eight to be unveiled by the end of November.

As I was unaware of the changes being made, suddenly finding a brand new cinema came as a pleasant surprise. Walking through the main doors, which are now forty five metres closer to the Capel Street end of Parnell Street, you will arrive the ticket office which now takes up an entire floor and should eliminate all the headaches caused by the old queues. There are ten box office points to buy your tickets, or if booking by credit card, there are five ticket collection points. Plasma screens display the list of films on show and the availability of places for each.

You then go upstairs to floor one, via an escalator, and you will find the new café/bar. Split into smoking and non-smoking, it is quite spacious and comfortable. Floor two is where the popcorn counter and other refreshments are located. Again quite spacious and effectively laid out, the second floor also offers a kids party room. All auditoria are black with stadium seating offering the ultimate in comfort and lots of legroom.

With UGC promising to “show the most diverse range of films under one roof” it looks like this investment has been money well spent. This is the best option for cinema goers in town with the IFI and Savoy screen one (on a good night) not far behind. All in all, it was like going to a completely different cinema and very enjoyable. I’m not sure how long it will stay in its current pristine condition but so far, it’s looking good.