By Graham Chalmers
A year ago it was only a possibility but the chief executive of the Everyman cinema chain has told the Harrogate Advertiser its new cinema will open next year and it will be a major player in the local cinema scene
Crispin Lilly, CEO of this modern independent cinema chain, said they were looking at an opening date in the town of spring/summer 2016.
Best known for swapping the traditional cinema seat and popcorn in favour of comfy sofas and pizzas, the new multi-screen Everyman will be situated in the former site of the now demolished Beales department store at the corner of Albert Street and Station Parade.
Mr Lilly said: “The main thing is whatever you’re watching, we make your experience as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. We like our venues to be intimate and atmospheric.”
The new cinema will take up two-storeys, coming with its own first-floor restaurant and balcony bar.
It will boast four screens and has been described as being “on the larger side.”
Everyman’s move into Harrogate will also meansthe Odeon, a Grade II Listed building first opened in 1936, will no longer be the only option for movie lovers in the town.
Mr Lilly, an ex-vice-president at Cineworld with 22 years’ experience in the industry, said: “We will offer a full bar with a great selection of wines as well as hot food, from stone baked pizza and proper hot dogs as well as retro cinema sweets and snacks.”
Set up originally in Hampstead in 2000 by entrepreneur Daniel Broch, Everyman’s emphasis on the food and drink side of cinema-going has proven popular, leading to growth across the country into a dozen different locations.
An Everyman was opened in Leeds in 2013 in its swish Trinity shopping centre.
Sometimes described as an ‘art house chain’, its chief executive says the cinema’s programmes are too wide to be pigeon-holed in that way.
He said: “We love films of all kinds from blockbusters to live satellite events from the National Theatre, we also aim to pick the best smaller independent films that we think our guests will come and take a chance on.”
Since the plans for the new £10million entertainment complex to replace the 1950s Beales building were first reported in the Harrogate Advertiser, four restaurant chains have also been confirmed for the site.
Yo Sushi, Byron Burger, French brasserie Côte Bistro and Argentinean restaurant CAU are all set to move in.