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This rooftop movie theater is opening its first Florida venue in Miami Beach

Miami Herald logo Miami Herald 5/18/2022 Connie Ogle, Miami Herald

The first rooftop movie theater in the Miami area is just about ready to offer you a seat under the stars.

The open-air Rooftop Cinema Club is opening its first Florida venue on Lincoln Road in Miami Beach in June, just across busy Alton Road from the Regal South Beach multiplex.

Rooftop Cinema Club, though, is a completely different experience. You sit outside, snacking on pizza or popcorn, with your hand around a cold craft beer or frosty cocktail. There’s no roof over your head, but you’ll enjoy a great view of the city by night. You watch movies on an LED screen while wearing wireless headphones.

There are likely no brand-new blockbusters, either. Instead, Rooftop specializes in older, familiar favorites and classics, kicking off its schedule with the Heath Ledger and Julia Stiles romantic comedy “10 Things I Hate About You.” In its first month, it will screen “Pulp Fiction,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Love and Basketball,” “Friday,” “Superbad,” “Selena” and a “Grease” singalong. There’s even a Marvel movie in the mix, “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

Founder Gerry Cottle, who opened the first Rooftop in London’s Shoreditch neighborhood in 2011, says he grew up always wanting to watch his favorite films on a big screen, films like “Back to the Future” and “Top Gun.”

“I was around 7 when they came out,” he says. “Now I want to do it with a beer in my hand.”

Cottle, who went on to open Rooftop venues in New York City, Los Angeles, San Diego and Houston, sees Rooftop Cinema Club as changing the way people experience cinema.

“We offer great views, cocktails and socializing. When you go to watch the film, it’s more than just the movie. Get there early and play games, socialize, get a cocktail, then celebrate the films you love, like ‘The Goonies.’ We’re trying to make it more of an event, more of a date night. Turn up early and you have a whole night out.”

The Miami Beach venue, the largest in the brand, will serve finger food and pizza, and cocktails may be themed to match the movie of the night. For example, Cottle says, if the theater shows “The Big Lebowski,” the featured drink could be a white Russian (The Dude’s favorite adult beverage, for those who are not fanatics). For “Jaws,” maybe a Bloody Mary.

Opening in the South Florida summer has its drawbacks, namely the heat and potential rain. But the cinema will only show movies after 6 p.m., and Cottle says they will consider adding misters to the rooftop if it feels too hot.

As for rain, he points out that the first cinema was in London, which is famous for its dreary weather. The cinema has a cancellation policy and will warn customers by text or email or website if an evening’s show is to be canceled. If you have a ticket you can transfer it to another, hopefully drier night.

The main goal is, of course, to provide a few hours away from the grind, Cottle says.

“Film has always been about escape, especially in the post COVID world,” he says. “You switch off and forget anything else. Now I think our job is more important than ever. We offer complete escapism.”

Rooftop Cinema Club South Beach

Where: 1212 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach

Opens: June 2

Cost: $19.75 for a lounge seat; $23.75 for lounge seat with popcorn; $27.75 for Adirondack chair and popcorn; $29.75 for love seat and popcorn

Tickets and full

©2022 Miami Herald. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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