Is Secret Cinema the most entertained you can be?

As a student I spent half a year abroad in Washington DC, studying politics and working for a politician (Senator Carl Levin from Michigan, since you ask. A great man). This was in the days before Monica Lewinsky gave interning a bad name, which gives you some idea of quite how long ago it was.

I learnt lots of things, including that, although it's very important that you try, sometimes it's impossible to get along with room-mates, especially if you didn't choose them yourself; that - relatedly - exercise can be a great panacea; and also that America is full of excellent opportunities to be passively entertained. I learnt some stuff about politics too but that's a different story.

My favourite haunt, and one that left a big impression on me was called the cinema and drafthouse in Arlington and I'm delighted to see that it's still open.

There it is *smiles at the memory* In particular I liked it because it was a new concept to me. You could go along and watch a second-run movie and eat and drink stuff at the same time. With a table and waiter service.

I was a long way from home on a tiny budget and this, to me, was the epitome of luxury. My brain would nearly explode with joy at the mere thought that I was going to make a trip to this place (this was also in the days before I learnt that many people suspected you of insincerity if you were over-enthusiastic).

I used to sit there in the dark, munching on a burger or tortilla chips and drinking bottles of Budweiser - well, probably one bottle of beer before the money ran out - watching some film or other and thinking that if I ever ran short of things to do when I was a grown-up I could do a lot worse than open one of these places.

So it was with a special kind of pleasure that I noticed that the people who brought you Secret Cinema, have decided to throw food into the mix. And not just any old food, but food by the Michelin-starred chefs at St John restaurant. Guess what they're calling it?

You get a fancy film, some fancy food and the excitement of a pop-up venue all in one. Something spontaneous for the easily-jaded (although with over 100,000 *likes* on Facebook I guess it's not much of a secret any more and the easily jaded may already have hopped off).

OK, you may very well think. But that still leaves the affordability bracket uncovered, as I doubt many students would be able to afford £30 for an evening out (plus booze). So there's still room for a budget version of the kind I learned to love.

But I was thinking that things were moving in the right direction the other day when I hooked up with a friend to watch a QPR game at Walkabout in Shepherd's Bush and he was acting as if he were gobsmacked at the loveliness of it all ("this might actually be heaven"). I could see what he meant.

It had a cinema-sized screen for watching the game, table service and very reasonably priced food and beer. The bar itself use to be a bingo hall, so it's big. I'm a Norwich City girl myself (they're one place above QPR on the table and I'd downloaded the app that would keep me up to date with the scoreline). But I was sitting there thinking that if you replaced the football with films you'd have exactly what I used to love in Arlington.

Total entertainment. Because I think that cinema + table service = winning formula. Maybe if you threw in some dancing in another room you'd get the less passive crew too.

Once I've got this app sorted perhaps I'll do a 24hourlondon cinema and drafthouse. Always on the lookout for investors...

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