Dorothy Browns is a boutique theatre and bar that has been touted by movie-goers as the best in New Zealand. What's so good about this little Arrowtown cinema? For a start, huge seats with armrests for cheeseboards and wineglasses. Then there's the decor, a mix of romantic charm and funky modernism. Screening a good selection of both contemporary and arthouse films as well as incorporating the cutist little bookshop, Dorothy Browns has something for everyone.
Owner Philippa Archibald looked to the old-time movie culture for inspiration. "I wanted to create a night out for movie-goers, where people don't feel they have to rush". She also insists on having an intermission, "People like that" said Archibald.
The fully stocked bar serves up fine local wines. A roaring fire is flanked by red possum fur seats and, in the central area overlooking Arrowtown's tree lined streets, modernist couches and bean bags make for a cosy chit-chat spot. Inside the main cinema, is a feel of opulence. Floating pink chiffon lines the walls and glass-beaded chandeliers complete the romantic look.
Such a great name raises the question: who is Dorothy Brown? "She was a well-known turn-of-the-century photographer who lived with a Chinese man from the local gold mining community. And maybe she ran an opium den." reveals Archibald coyly.