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Published September 21st 2017
Enjoy a small-screen cinema visit with food thrown in
It is one of the newest, and probably smallest cinemas in the Midlands region, but The Red Carpet Cinema and Café Bar is happily making a success of combining film and dining under the one roof. The Red Carpet Cinema and Café Bar, which is situated within the delightful Barton Marina complex just outside Barton-under-Needwood in Staffordshire, has been providing a cinematic 'retreat' away from the all-too-common giant multiplexes for the last four years after it opened its doors in 2013.
The compact two-screen cinema amusingly advertises both a Big screen and a Little screen, presumably to make things easier for customers, particularly when the same movie is showing in each, as it did when my wife and I went to see Victoria and Abdul starring Dame Judi Dench. But The Red Carpet has more of a private screening room feel to it than a traditional fully blown cinema. What also 'sells' The Red Carpet to audiences is that the cinema shares its single-storey building with a welcoming café and restaurant where film and food are able to mix happily together.
The Red Carpet Cinema and Café Bar is open for both film and food every day from 10am until 11pm. Customers are able to enjoy one without the other, so visitors to Barton Marina are able to eat brunch, lunch or dinner in The Red Carpet restaurant, or pop in for just a cup of tea or coffee, after either strolling around the complex of shops or walking around one or more of the lakes that attract an abundance of birdlife. Of course, the opposite is equally possible, with visitors able to watch a film in one of the little cinemas without having to dine first.
On the day that we went to see new release Victoria and Abdul, we decided to do both and, in so doing, took advantage of the seemingly popular Lunch and Film Offer, which enables customers to enjoy a daytime cinema ticket (before 5pm) and lunch consisting of a main dish, homemade cake or hot drink, plus a soft drink for a maximum of £17.50 per person. Alternatively, cinema-goers may also be interested in the Film and Food Night Out which consists of a two-course meal followed by an evening cinema ticket at a combined cost of £25.95 each. If you choose not to dine in the café bar, then a cinema ticket before 5pm will cost £7.45 and £9.95 in the evening.
On our visit to The Red Carpet, I chose the more than ample BLT sandwich containing delicious bacon, which came with white or malted brown bread and was served with crisps, a salad garnish and coleslaw. My wife, on the other hand, had the Grilled chicken skewers with satay sauce, a salad garnish and ciabatta. Both dishes on their own would have cost £6.95, while we also enjoyed slices of cappuccino cake and chocolate fudge cake at £2.95 each, washed down by a diet lemonade and coke. Both meals were far more plentiful than I expected and set us up perfectly for the film to follow.
In addition to the regular menu, which includes omelettes, jacket potatoes, 'light bites', sandwiches and pizzas, The Red Carpet is also offering a new menu on Fridays with a range of classic dishes including chicken breast, slow-cooked beef pie in red wine gravy, and a mushroom crepe with fondant potatoes. Sundays will also have a proper Sunday Lunch including roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, stuffing, cauliflower cheese, fine beans, leeks and carrots.