North Shore locals – particularly those in the Takapuna area – will be thrilled with the exciting changes happening at our ‘local’ movie theatre. The Berkeley name has gone, and Monterey has arrived, along with loads of innovation, lots of change and significant investment that will ensure it will be part of our township for years ahead.
Firstly, the new Monterey Lounge Cinema in Takapuna is New Zealand owned and operated by a passionate duo who have been in the industry for decades. Kelly Rogers and David Ross have an enduring business partnership that started out around 30 years ago. They also operate the much-loved Bridgeway in Northcote Point and Monterey Cinemas in Howick and Upper Hutt. Their heritage in cinema goes back to setting up the Rialto Cinema chain, selling out to one of the big players in 2005. Since that time their focus has been on local boutique cinemas.
Kelly Rogers is the cinema guy. As CEO he’s responsible for the day-to-day management of the cinemas and film distribution. He’s a musician of note, playing saxophone, and just lives and breathes movies – he started making them as a teenager – and these days gets a buzz out of running local boutique cinemas. His love for boutique movie theatres goes back to frequenting Angelika Cinema when he was a muso living in New York.
“We are excited about the potential in Takapuna,” said Kelly when we popped in for a chat as renovations were being completed in mid-July. “People will love the boutique service and experience they will have when they come to Monterey in Takapuna.”
When the cinema re-opens in late July – scheduled for Thursday 23rd July – there will be an entirely new look, a new cinema experience and a focus on food and beverage that locals will love. Kelly Rogers says it’s “boutique cinema on steroids”.
Gone are all the old cinema seats. They are being replaced by comfortable plush lounge seating with slim tables in front. At Monterey Lounge Cinema you can enjoy an experience similar to gold class where people can order food and drinks and take them into the cinema.
“The experience at Monterey Lounge Cinema Takapuna will be all about the customer, so locals can come, relax and enjoy great movies and more,” added Kelly. “We want to engage with the community and encourage them to use the Monterey for group functions, corporate hires and fundraising events. I have young sons who love gaming, so we are also going to cater for people who want to come in and link to our big screens for gaming at times when movies are not playing.”
While Kelly looks after day-to-day management, his business partner David Ross – a chartered accountant – has decades of business experience across many sectors. As well as boutique movie theatres, the two are also involved in film distribution, which means you can guarantee that Monterey Lounge Cinema Takapuna will always have great movies showing.
“We want Monterey to be an all-round experience and a place locals love to come to,” says David Ross. “Our manager Alan Tango has a hospitality background, as food and beverage is something we want to do very well. That means that locals will want to pop in for a drink and something to eat just as much as coming for the great movies.”
It’s clear that both David and Kelly are keen for the lounge at Monterey to become the perfect place for locals to catch up over your favourite drink or coffee and dessert.
At Monterey Lounge Cinema Takapuna, you will find all the treats you’d expect when you go to the movies. There’s a full bar service, but it is the food menu that sets this apart from the rest. To tempt your taste buds, this menu includes: Margherita pizza; buffalo mozzarella (with tomato passata and fresh basil); mozzarella garlic pizza bread; prosciutto plate to share (s/w buffalo mozzarella, olives, crostini); Texan Burger (with cheddar cheese, rocket, red onion, pickles, tomato relish, American mustard); cheese plate (cheddar, brie, blue, DF cheddar); and a delicious sundae menu serving award-winning Little Lato Gelato (DF/V). And these are just a few items highlighted from the three-page menu.
When Monterey Lounge Cinema Takapuna reopens in late July it will have movies from the New Zealand International Film Festival, something we haven’t had in Takapuna before. These will include: ‘Heroic Losers’; ‘In the Name of the Land’; ‘LOIMATA, The Sweetest Tears’; ‘If Only; True History of the Kelly Gang’; ‘Rūrangi’; ‘Wendy; The Last Wave’; ‘The Perfect Candidate’; ‘Ellie & Abbie (& Ellie’s Dead Aunt)’. Other movies to look out for at the Monterey in late July will include: ‘The Secret’: ‘Dare to Dream’ (Katie Holmes); ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’; ‘Radioactive’; ‘The King of Staten Island’; ‘Trolls World Tour’; ‘Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs’.
The investment that Kelly Rogers and David Ross are making at the Monterey Lounge Cinema is great news for Takapuna and the North Shore. It’s also very timely for Takapuna. After spending an hour with them I am confident their boutique cinema offering is just what Takapuna needs. See you at the movies!
Monterey Lounge Cinema Takapuna – 32-34 Anzac Street, Takapuna.