Ireland’s Stella named one of the world’s 20 most beautiful cinemas

Dublin art-deco-style cinema reopened in 2017 with a facelift after years of dilapidation

Dublin's landmark Stella cinema in Rathmines, which originally opened in 1923 has been sympathetically restored to reflect the glamour and glitz of the 1920's. Video: Bryan O'Brien

 

The Stella in Dublin has been named one of the world’s most beautiful cinemas. Time Out, the going-out guide with a presence in 328 cities and 58 countries, put it at no 16 in its 50-strong global ranking.

The art-deco-style cinema originally opened in Rathmines, in Dublin 6, in 1923. It was the largest cinema in Ireland at the time, with a capacity of 1,283. After eventually falling into dilapidation it was bought by Press Up Group, the hospitality company run by Paddy McKillen jnr and Matt Ryan.

They reopened it in 2017 after using old photographs to help them restore it to its original style – although now with a capacity of just 216: 150 on the ground floor and 66 on the balcony above. 

The new-look Stella has rows of leather armchairs and couches, with small circular snack tables, topped by lamps, beside them. In front of each seat is a leather ottoman for cinemagoers to rest their legs on; each one holds a cashmere blanket, for cosiness, with space to stow coats or bags.

‘The refurbishment pushes the Scott Fitzgerald vibe into the realms of French martinis and bourbon cocktails. Oh, and the screen itself isn’t shabby either. The Stellar used to Ireland’s largest cinema, now it’s just the swishest,’ says Time Out

Upstairs and to the side, in what was once a dance studio, is the Stella Cocktail Bar, with a decadent velvet interior, new roof light, over-bar mirror and small outdoor terrace. It’s a cave to linger in before or after a film, or can be accessed separately from the street.

Phil de Semlyen, Time Out’s global film editor, writes: “Mosaic tiling, art deco railings, hand painted ceiling, chandelier and the dress-to-impress Stella Cocktail Club (a Star Wars T-shirt will do at a push) pushes the Scott Fitzgerald vibe into the realms of French martinis and bourbon cocktails. Oh, and the screen itself isn’t shabby either, with red armchairs, huge sofas and double beds to pick from. The Stella used to be Ireland’s largest cinema, now it’s just the swishest.”

The guide suggests supporting the cinema by buying a gift card.

The Stella Cinema, Rathmines, Dublin
Inside the Stella Cinema in Rathmines in Dublin. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Ticket and snack bar in the Stella Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
The ticket and snack bar at the Stella. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
The Stella Cocktail Bar in the Stella Theatre. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
The Stella Cocktail Bar. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Balcony in the Stella Cinema
The balcony stairs at the Stella Cinema
Floor tiles in the Stella. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Floor tiles at the Stella. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

The world’s most beautiful cinemas: Time Out’s top 20

  • 20 New Beverly Cinema, Los Angeles
  • 19 Cineteca Nacional de Mexico, Mexico City
  • 18 Castro Theatre, San Francisco
  • 17 TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles
  • 16 Stella Cinema, Dublin
  • 15 Rio Cinema, London
  • 14 The Labia Theatre, Cape Town
  • 13 The Raj Mandir, Jaipur
  • 12 Le Champo, Paris
  • 11 Cine Doré Filmoteca Española, Madrid
  • 10 Puskin Art Cinema, Budapest
  • 9 The Civic, Auckland
  • 8 ArcLight Cinerama Dome, Los Angeles
  • 7 The Astor, Melbourne
  • 6 Cinema Dei Piccoli, Rome
  • 5 The Electric, London
  • 4 Cineteca Madrid, Madrid
  • 3 Village East Cinema, New York
  • 2 Le Grand Rex, Paris
  • 1 Pathé Tuschinski, Amsterdam