Brisbane, Australia: Outdoor Movies Shown at the Rooftop Cinema at the Limes Hotel

Outdoor Movies at the Limes Hotel in Brisbane, AustraliaIn New York, where the weather is decidedly less friendly than ours, they've been doing it on rooftops across town for years. Groups of friends gathering at night to watch an outdoor movie under the Manhattan stars, enjoying a cocktail or two at the same time. For months, Brisbane's first commercial rooftop cinema along with its gloriously hip adjoining rooftop bar has been something of an underground phenomenon. Its owner Damian Griffiths has been so busy launching Limes, Fortitude Valley's newest boutique hotel, that he's done virtually nothing in the way of serious marketing. He hasn't had to. The buzz around Limes is now cresting so sharply through word of mouth that Brisbane's urban glitterati can no longer smugly claim the open air cinema as theirs alone. "We've had people come from the coast, even our guests staying in the boutique hotel below come on up and watch the movies," the amiable Griffiths says. "We're seeing whole cinema nights being booked by groups of friends and social clubs. We had some stockbrokers recently wanting Wall Street. They've now called us and asked if they could change to something more light-hearted and we're going with National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation instead." Despite having to go through numerous "bureaucratic hoops and hurdles" to realize his inner-city rooftop cinema dream, Griffiths says council planners were excited by the concept. "I think deep down they know this back street of the Valley so very much needs other entertainment that's more mainstream. We have lots of clubs, but we now need more boutique hotels, restaurants, small shops and trendy bars to improve the area." The open-air cinema, tucked away in Constance St, seats 40 people and currently screens a mix of retro and new-release titles (such as Sex and The City, The Wedding Singer, Chocolat, Amelie) on Monday and Tuesday nights at 7 o'clock. "At the moment our staff select the movies, plus we did a survey of our guests. They told us they like romantic comedies, movies with good music and some cult classics thrown in." Next Sunday, Limes will launch its new Hollywood Club which will amp up the cinema's profile considerably through special events such as Hollywood Nights, Oscar parties and Q&A Movie Nights attended by Australian actors. Brisbane's Mr Hollywood Damien Anthony Rossi has just been crowned as guest host. The high-profile casting agent will be regularly presiding over the rooftop venue, providing entertaining behind-the-scenes trivia on the films and their stars and replicating his popular Rossi Oscar events. "The first time I went to a party up on the rooftop at Limes it felt just like the kind of places you find in New York or LA I could have been at the Hollywood Roosevelt," says American-born Rossi, who immigrated to Australia 18 years ago. Griffiths, a former lawyer who got into the hotel trade initially through the backpacker and budget market, is confident his cosy cinema has more than enough ammunition to compete with the plush gold class megaplex experience. "We are so much more chilled out. Think sitting on your deck at home, but instead, you're on a rooftop lifted up from the street, looking back over the city. It's kind of surreal in a way, but you sit back and enjoy a great glass of wine or champagne or some tapas and just relax," he says. "If it rains, we have a nomadic tent that we can put up and it's quite cool, it creates a whole desert tent look. But, of course, if it's a freak storm, we'd have to just cancel the show." The night I went for my own Limes rooftop cinema outing, some months back, my friends and I were attended to like rock stars. We were given fleecy blankets to counter the evening chill and had our own waiter hovering attentively. And for those who throw themselves a little too vigorously into the spirit of things, Limes also offers a special room-rate for rooftop guests only: after midnight any available rooms can be had for the bargain basement rate of $99.

Join our mailing list

Get the latest outdoor cinema updates and benefits straight to your inbox

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Join our community of 4,000+ Open Air Cinema enthusiasts and professionals. Get exclusive tutorials, guidance and discounts in our weekly email newsletter.

Subscribe now 👇