Walking in through the doors of The Grand Daddy Hotel on Long Street, I was made to feel like a guest of honour. A friendly doorman took me to Reception to retrieve my tickets for The Pink Flamingo and then escorted me to the apparently antique elevator that would transport me to the roof.
The Pink Flamingo cinema has established itself as a regular feature on the weekly Cape Town scene. A small open air rooftop venue, it plays popular classics such as Dances With Wolves and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The film for this particular evening was the Academy Award-winning Spanish film Pan’s Labyrinth, one I had seen before, but never like this. The nature of the film – a dark fantasy set in the 1940s – fitted perfectly with the vintage Airstream trailers surrounding us and the picturesque night sky above.
There are options for rather comfortable seats known as the Love Seat and the Couch –these are limited though so need to be booked in advance. I’d missed out and had to make do with the general seating which frankly could do with a cushion.
All tickets include a bag of salted popcorn, some sweets and a drink. In our case on this cold winter night, a delicious creamy hot chocolate was brought to our seats, with the added option of a tot of Kahlúa. Food packages are also available to those who book in advance, including a selection of salads, wraps, snacks and desserts, all served just before the film begins. The bar stays open throughout the film and a waiter is in close proximity if anyone needs anything.
Overall the service was great and the staff helpful and friendly throughout. For example when it was pointed out that the subtitles were not clearly visible, someone came to fix the problem immediately. The screen is rather smaller than your run-of-the-mill cinema, but then it is for a smaller crowd of around 35 to 40 people, and the general sound and picture quality are good.
My only advice would be to dress warmly if there is any hint of chill in the air. The Pink Flamingo does provide blankets and heaters but it still gets nippy up there. Basic roofing provides a little shelter but if rain is forecast then the film is cancelled and those who have made a booking are notified by 3pm. It’s kind of fun to wrap up on a cold night, but this rooftop setting on a summer’s night must be magical.
The Pink Flamingo is a unique experience, with an old-school cinema feel (minus the formal attire) and a perfect idea for a date night or relaxed evening out. It’s such a world apart that, walking out of the quaint hotel setting after the film, I was half surprised not to find the 1940s staring back at me.
The Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema screens films every Monday at 6.30pm (sunset dependent) on the rooftop of The Grand Daddy Hotel, Long St, Cape Town.