The 3 Most Charming Melbourne Cinemas

A Comparative Review of Melbourne’s Most Memorable Cinemas

These top Melbourne cinemas cover documentaries, art house, independent , blockbusters and feature films. All around the world movie goers such as myself flock to see the latest indie movies to summer blockbusters, but some cinema’s offer a little bit extra to the cinematic experience then the big chain cookie-cutter companies.

Here is a list of my top 3 cinema’s in and around the City of Melbourne; all of which have a bar, but I don’t want you to assume that influenced my opinion… It did.


The following companies are the best choices for when you want to go out and see a movie in Melbourne. So get ready to take your next adventure back in time to have a drink, some popcorn and take in a film at a few of Melbourne’s most iconic movie theatres.

1. Palace Como Theatre


The Palace Como Theatre has its own bar and special atmosphere surrounded by plush foyer décor. This theatre is great for those looking for a luxurious cinematic experience outside of the busy city. The Palace Como shows new releases as well as classic and contemporary cinema from around the world while holding a variety of international film festivals cultivating movies from Scandinavia, America, Germany, Italy, Britain, Spain, and France.

Want to see a film at the Palace Como? View the Calendar

Rating ♦ ♦ ♦ (3/5)

The cinema is open from 10am – 10pm, 7 days a week.
Located: 89 High Street, Northcote VIC
Phone: (03) 9482 2001

2. Palace Westgarth Theatre


The Palace Westgarth Theatre is a gorgeous theatre that has not one but two of its own bars, which serve beer, wine and cheese platters alongside the classic popcorn and soda concessions. The theatre itself has 5 air-conditioned cinemas that are all in the style of 1920s’ art-deco decor. Consider this theatre for an upscale indoor or outdoor cinematic experience 7 days a week, between the hours of 10am and 10pm.  Its courtyard screen has a relaxed atmosphere with its own bar. You are provided with your own high definition headphones and can enjoy a movie outside starting from dusk.

Want to see a film at the Palace Westgarth? View the Calendar

Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ (4/5)

Located: 89 High Street, Northcote VIC
Phone: (03) 9482 2001

3. The Astor Theatre


The Astor theatre in Melbourne was built in the mid 1930s’ and is a single-screen cinema. Located in the heart of St. Kilda, this theatre is a real treat for movie goers who love a bit of history and stunning architecture alongside their cinematic experience.

The single-screen movie theatre can hold a capacity of 1,150 people and has an authentic Art Deco decor. It has a huge auditorium with the same ambience as its screening room. The theatres facilities are surrounded by old-fashion style but are completely up-to-date with a state-of-art surround sound system, huge screen, air-conditioning. Its theatre and toilets are all wheelchair accessible by ramp across from the bar and cafe.

Want to see a film at the Astor?  View the Calendar

Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ (5/5)

Located: Chapel St & Dandenong Road, St Kilda VIC 3182
Phone:  (03) 9510 1414

Thanks for coming!


David Diamond


12 thoughts on “The 3 Most Charming Melbourne Cinemas

  1. Well thanks for making want to go to all three now!

    The only other information I think would help me decide which to hit first would be, how much more expensive are these cinemas? Are they only a little bit more than going to say, Hoyts or Village cinemas, or are these more of a “special occasion” type of venues?


  2. Thank you for a great review. I frequent the cinema quite a lot, in the inner North (so mostly the Nova in Carlton), but I did not know about the outdoor cinema at the Westgarth! That sounds so beautiful. The thing that gets me about the Astor however, is the maintained bathrooms. It’s like going back 80 years in time. Although I find the gendering of bathrooms particularly frustrating, there is something really positionable about being in a bathroom which was seperate from the cubicles and used as a powder room. It is a conceivable reality, for us as current cinema-goers, looking retrospectively.
    Another cinema I think you would really like is the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine. It was bought by business people who were beginning to turn it into a commercial cinema but more recently bought again by local business owners who’s love for preserving the cinema and it’s sentiment is felt.
    Thanks again for your review!


  3. I’ve been to the Astor Theatre a few times and I love it! I agree that the art deco there is great. After reading your article I now can’t wait to go try out the other theatres around Melbourne. They all look really niche and groovy.


  4. These all look wonderful. I was wondering what made you really look into going to each of these – was it only the bar, the price, the atmosphere and your own personal thoughts. Did you have a recount of going there and finding something good or bad about the venue? It looks like a very nice place and I’d go. However I’d like to have maybe heard of your own experience there. Happy watching. 🙂


  5. Thanks for making this so informative! I also love the Nova cinema on Lygon Street–it’s so close to uni and I love the cheap ticket prices on Monday (so maybe not as luxurious as these but great for students!)


  6. I’m so glad the Astor is on this list; it really is a little jewel of Melbourne. And to think, we almost lost it! I’ve not visited the other two, but the Westgarth’s approach to cinema by providing individual headphones sounds really intriguing! It makes me think that maybe cinemas should offer patrons the option of hiring a set to plug into something at the back of the seats.

    Whilst the mini-reviews were informative, I’m curious why you rated the venues differently; what makes the Como not as good an experience as the Astor, for example?


  7. I really enjoyed reading these reviews on your top three cinema choices. I found it informative and I liked that you included a rating for each.

    Watching a movie can be a really intimate experience and when you find a cinema you love and become familiar with, its hard to branch out and visit other ones!

    My favourite would have to be Cinema Nova in Carlton, which offers $7 movies on Mondays!


  8. You know it’s strange, being born and bread in Melbourne, I have never been to any of these cinemas. I am an avid movie lover and cinema frequenter. I’ve been to the other Palace cinemas and many others all around the city bar these.
    After reading your post I feel almost ashamed.
    Thanks for the reviews, I’ll get myself to these pronto!


  9. All classics…..

    But how can nobody here have mentioned The Sun theatre in Yarraville!

    Not just a classic independent cinema but a strip of shops that is perfect for pre and post date, and a bookshop for when you realise nobody wants to travel with you all the way to the other side of town and you forgot your book.

    Another important thing to add is it is also another cinema that will screen movies on original film. I saw Dunkirk there and it was LIT.

    (Westgarth use to be my local, so thanks for recommending that one too!)


    1. The Sun Theatre in Yarraville was definitely a top contender. It was one of the first cinemas I visited when moving to Melbourne. It has such a great retro vibe and atmosphere like the rest on this list! Also highly recommended!


  10. This was such a great piece. The images are beautiful and the structure was easy-to-follow and engaging. As an inner-westside, I haven’t been to even of these cinemas, but after reading your review I’ll definitely be travelling a lot more to experience them. The links to their calendars were super helpful, and I loved the diamonds as a review system. Great GIF a the end. Thank you for sharing this.


  11. Very informational piece but, besides the bar, what made you score them in such a different way? All three cinemas are beautiful and I must visit them sometime soon after reading your post. Thank you for sharing!


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