Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema Melbourne – Review and tips to help you plan your visit

Summer has arrived and if lounging outdoors on a warm night with your friends, eating ice cream and watching movies sounds like one perfect summer night to you, then you’re definitely going to want to check out the Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema. Running from 1st December – 22nd December, the Ben and Jerry’s Openair Cinema has set up its own sectioned off area of St. Kilda’s South Beach area.

With a great selection of both new releases and all your favourite oldies, you can take a look at the listing of movies planned to screen each night. Gates open at 6pm with local DJs supplying some chill out tunes while you find a spot on the lawn and get comfortable with bean lounges and deck chair hire as well as the option to enjoy the Italian food offering from Ladro, or the drinks and snacks at the bar before settling in to watch a movie once the night sky falls at about 8.30-9pm.

Sundae Sessions take place each Sunday from 5pm, described as ‘music by day, movies by night’ you can enjoy the tunes of a live band, and have a go at the lawn games set up in a fun and chill atmosphere whilst savouring some complimentary scoops of delicious Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream!

Thanks to the Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema, I attended the Opening Night – Sundae Sessions Charity Launch and it was great fun. I advise that whatever night you decide to go, make sure you try to get there early to ensure you reserve yourself a good viewing spot. This is also a good idea to allow for a good amount of time to catch up with your friends and enjoy the atmosphere before watching the sunset and getting ready to watch the movie.

Ben & Jerry's Openair Cinema

Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema

You can pack a picnic and bring your own food, or if you get there extra early you can even take a walk down Ackland Street beforehand and pick up some takeaway (I did see some people bring in Grill’d bags) as well as bring along non-alcoholic beverages like a bottle of water. However you are not allowed to bring in any alcohol or glass to the venue, but you can purchase alcoholic beverages on site. It is good to note that the bar did serve complimentary water in plastic cups as an alternative to buying bottles and I enjoyed the tangy and citrusy Aperol Spritz on offer!

Restaurant Ladro does cater inside the venue, serving up a selection of Italian food. I tried the ‘Gamberi’ prawn pizza which was nice, albeit the burnt edges of the base  and the tomato sauce and pea overload, but it was the addition of the lemon and garlic prawns that made the pizza worthwhile. If you don’t like pizza, they also served smaller hot snacks like calamari and aranchini. You can view the menu on offer at the event here. For one dollar extra all pizzas can be made on a gluten-free base. Of course you can also sample one or more of the wonderful flavours of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream which can be purchased at the snack bar.

Ladro Gamberi Pizza

Ladro Gamberi Pizza

You can hire deck chairs and bean lounges on site, but it is still a good idea to bring your own picnic blanket and perhaps an extra blanket if you get cold. Being the beautiful but moody-weathered city of Melbourne it would also be smart to bring along an umbrella or light, emergency raincoat, as we all know how unpredictable the weather can be. While cinema screening can be cancelled due to foreseeable bad weather (in which case pre-puchased tickets will be transferrable for another night) it is noted that screenings will go ahead during intermittent showers. So it’s always better to be prepared!

The Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema and it’s laid back, festival like atmosphere makes the perfect setting to catch up with friends and make the most of warm summer nights. Check out their website for more information, session times and booking information.  Don’t forget its only on for three weeks so get your friends together and organise those tickets soon so you don’t miss out!


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