11 December 2012 9:08 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Each week we ask readers to tell us about venues close to their hearts. Today, a lost art deco cinema in Northern Ireland


The exuberantly characterful Tonic cinema, first opened in 1936, was ensconced on a prime site near the centre of one of Northern Ireland's more prosperous coastal towns. Its prestigious location would, however, eventually work against it, as would the advent of the video cassette recorder.

The building

"Everything is art deco now", Anjelica Huston told Jack Nicholson's none-too-cerebral hitman in Prizzi's Honor, to which Nicholson replied, "Art who?" But we lucky patrons of the Tonic knew about art deco. The Tonic's elegant curves, its assertive buttresses and long smooth flanks, were as familiar to us as the waves on the shores of nearby Belfast Lough.

Split between lowly stalls and exalted circle, there were seats for 2,500 people, making this Northern Ireland's biggest as well as its most beautiful cinema. »

- Guardian readers

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