That about sums up the restaurant part of the experience at Cinker, a movie theater-plus-restaurant-plus-cocktail lounge concept located on the four floor of mega-mall Taikoo Hui. The staff is very polite, dressed up, and earnest, but their 26-seat private theater is the reason you're going. Not so much the Mediterranean-style small eats. But yes the theater is pretty cool. Something different for sure.
How It Works
Cinker schedules two or three films every day, starting around 4pm and ending around 2am. Movie selection falls somewhere between mainstream commercial movies and all-out esoteric arthouse films, with special programs from selected organizations, such as National Theater Live. On our visit, the films were curated for Valentine's Day: Her, La La Land, and French coming-of-age drama La Belle Vie. (We arrived for that last one, of course. Who can resist teen romance...) Movies are in English with Chinese-language subs or in their original language with English and Chinese subs.
There's a bit of variation (the National Theater Live ones cost a bit more), but it's generally around 150rmb for a movie plus a drink (cocktail, wine, or soft drinks) and you need WeChat to pay. (Once you get their WeChat, you also have access to their movie schedule as well.) Cost-wise it's alright. 150rmb for a movie and a cocktail, compared to a 40rmb ticket at a 2D theater elsewhere. And then on top of that, it's a la carte cocktails and bar snacks, all of which can be taken into the actual screening area. You could order up 12 oysters, a platter of Iberico ham, and a fistful of "Death Proof" cocktails to settle in with La La Land if you so possess that inclination. (You should so not posses that inclination.)
The theater is nice, though. It's clean, well-designed, and equipped with adjustable seats. A hidden bathroom is right by the door -- also clean, slightly vintage-ey, and lux. Those adjectives can describe the place as a whole as well. It's all velvet fabrics, mirrors, and marble, within a color palette composed of light pink, light green, grey, and scarlet. The theater might not have the highest specs (like this one), but it's not like they're screening Dunkirk.
The movie looked great on the screen, although the sound of the film was a bit light. Mercifully, there were only two of us in the theater. Wonder what it's like with twenty-something people sucking back oysters and hitting the bathroom after all those cocktails. Must be a nightmare for people with misophonia.
The cocktails themselves are fancy, and inspired by cult movies and jargon thereof. This girly-looking one, for example, is the aforementioned "Death Proof" (gin, chartreuse, and cucumber). They also have "The Dude Abides" (rum, coffee liqueur, and milk), "El Mariachi" (tequila, pineapple and chipotle), and "You Only Live Twice" (gin, vermouth, Bénédictine, and orange bitters) to name a few. The cocktails are priced at 95rmb on the menu; wine by the glass slightly cheaper.
The much maligned "Cinema & Bar Snacks" menu features eight Mediterranean and Asian fusion snacks, from above mentioned Patatas bravas (48rmb), to "Smoking popcorn" (28rmb), "5J Iberico ham"(168rmb) and 12-piece "Oysters of the week" (398rmb).
A bit of a background story should you be interested: Cinker Pictures (三克映画) was launched in Beijing in 2017. The name is a combination of "cinema" and "maker". Its co-founder and main designer Nico Yan is also the founder of Shanghai-based creative agency Studio Gunwap. Cinker has since branched out into Cinker Cinemas (which screens curated mainstream commercial movies), Cinker Diner, and PIC Cafe in Beijing. They planning to open Cinker Cinemas in many cities and five in each. Quite ambitious.
Might need to wait for a few months before things are running smoothly at Cinker Pictures, including them opening up that nice patio. Right now the place isn't busy on weekdays, and it's located on a floor that's not fully opened to the public yet. So it feels quiet and concealed. Good for a date maybe.
CNY Note: Cinker Pictures is closed from February 15 to 18, and will be back to business on 19. Their lunch time runs from 12pm to 3pm, dinner starts from 6pm. In between, only snacks and drinks are available.
Cinker Pictures is on the 4th floor of Taikoo Hui, at 288 Shimen Yi Lu, near Weihai Lu.