“ Address: Ocean Village / Southampton / SO14 3TL / Hampshire / England „
This has to be on of the few jewels in Southampton's rusting crown. I really miss cinemas being the picture palaces that they once were. Over the course of the end of the twentieth century, the cinema fell from grace, and eventually became the just out of town multiplexes (what a stupid word) that they are now, rather than something, usually a little architecturally exquisite, that used to grace the High Streets of our towns and cities. Now this cinema is no exception in that it is just out of town, and nowhere near a high street. It is architecturally exquisite, resembling something maritime. In fact it is on the quay of a marina (Ocean Village), which is also a housing estate, although an upper market housing estate, mainly occupied as second homes for those with yachts berthed in the adjacent marina. I like Harbour Lights for a number of reasons. It is small and intimate. You will get the big blockbusters, however you will also get the 'art house' films and the other stuff that just ain't going to find its way into the ABCs, Odeons and Gaumonts. But I rarely use it as a cinema! On the odd occasion when I visit Southampton, I find Ocean Village a pleasant place to have a stroll, and I will often pop into the bar at Harbour Lights for a coffee or even a beer if I am feeling adventurous. I find the bar comfortable and relaxing, with big plush comfy chair. There is a bit of a clique from the local 'housing estate' and the local University's media courses, so if you don't fit in you will at least get a better class of insult. The staff tend to be young and studenty. This is great if you want to be laid back and friendly, but when you actually want to get served at the bar by someone who does know the difference between lager and bitter, maybe this ain't the place for you. The bar staff can be a little too laid back, which results in you having to make sure you get the right order and the right change. You could best describe this cinema as 'pleasant' and free of the 'in yer face' commercial feel of the big boys. Give it a try!