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11 Feb 2014

Cinema rooms in Minsk – a cozy sofa but no intimacy

Cinema room in Minsk - inside
One or two years ago so called “anticafes” began to develop actively in Minsk – contrary to cafes, here you pay only for the spent time -- cookies, desserts, Wi-Fi and entertainment are free of charge. After the revolutionary changes in the world of cafes it's time for cinemas - it turns out, that they can also be with the prefix "anti".

Cinema rooms in Minsk

It seems that spoiled viewers can not be surprised in the age of Internet and pirated movies. Why should you pay when you can sit comfortably at home in front of your computer and watch any liked movie online? But it doesn’t make 13 cinemas in Minsk stop their existence, their halls are never empty. Cinema is one of the cheapest and therefore the most popular way to go on a date, spend time with friends or just get away from household chores. Hence the idea to combine the comfort of home and going out has appeared – notably, to create cinema rooms. Only rent rooms should be paid for. Projectors, game devices, karaoke, a large selection of movies and video games are free of charge.

Cinema room in Minsk - party

A journalist of has experienced the delights of a new movies format and talked to the owners of the anticinema "5 Rooms", which has recently opened in Minsk.

Own script at any time
One of the main advantages of cinema rooms is that they work almost round- the-clock and are suitable for “larks” as well as for night life lovers.  Do you have a wish to go to the cinema at 3 a.m.? No problem.  While cinemas sleep, cultural party life goes on. Another plus is a warm atmosphere. You can relax in a completely family atmosphere. There are dim lights, comfortable sofas and quality equipment in the rooms. Friends come here, then friends’ friends.

The average age of visitors - 25-30 years, students come rarely, but the owners set no restrictions. In the daytime you can even organize a children's party. For younger visitors there is a children's karaoke and games.

There are five rent rooms of different colours: turquoise, graffiti, purple, orange and red. You can use them as you wish. There are a few basic options, but the main thing is the fantasy of visitors. Except films watching you can arrange a romantic dinner, the videogame tournament using a game attachment X-Box kinect 3D, sing karaoke and play board games or the Mafia. The rooms are closed on the inside and have good sound insulation.

Cinema room in Minsk - inside

Here people celebrate their birthdays, anniversaries, stag and hen parties. The rental costs in this case don’t differ from the usual film watching. If you arrange it in advance, any of the rooms can be festively decorated with balloons, flowers or turn into a romantic place with candles, soft music, aromatic sticks and oils. Sometimes even weddings are celebrated here. But this is more of a great celebration, with relatives, a lot of people and a feast, that’s why not so many couples want to hold this event in a narrow family circle.

A big company can rent all the rooms at the same time and arrange a great party in the city center. In this case you must agree on the day of the booking of the whole establishment. Costs can differ, a big discount will be promised, so the renting costs of such rooms can be much lower than of country cottages. Especially it can be essential on the eve of school-leavers parties and other holidays that are around the corner.

Sofas can be really unfolded
Forums and reviews people often ask whether sofas can be unfolded in cinema rooms.  We will not ask too many questions, people don’t need it. We simply ask the owners:

"In all five rooms there are IKEA sofas. As everyone knows, the furniture of this company is multifunctional, with all sorts of mechanisms. So yes, there are folded sofas. It is convenient for mass use. The angle of the back can be changed, making it more direct or flatter. The main condition for us while choosing the furniture was its convenience for the use of clients as well as for routine care. Each couch has several removable covers in order that spots (when people relax they can’t do without spots) could be easily removed. Covers are regularly taken to the dry cleaners. By the way, what concerns sofas, we still remember one creative company, which celebrated a hen party in summer. Positive girls in male butterflies with strict makeup came in. In the big room they stood two large unfolded sofas parallel each other and made a big dance floor in the center of the room. It was so funny."

Dating and intimacy
Couples also book rooms. After all, young people want to spend time together, but not at home and in an unusual atmosphere. According to administrators, a romance desire awakens nearer to spring and summer.

"It’s not a hotel. We offer a room to people, but do not provide with any beds or linen change. There is no shower in the room. There are a lot of private apartments in Minsk that offer required opportunities. We are another type of institution. We offer rooms for celebrating parties, meeting friends. Sure, it would be strange if couples don’t come to us, because it is quite normal to go to the movies with a girl or book a romantic dinner for two in an unusual atmosphere. It happens sometimes that a company and a guy with his girlfriend come together. This is one party; they rent different rooms and only visit each other. They can watch movies, play Xboks, but at the same time they can stay in private."

By the way, there are no cameras in rented rooms. They are located only in the lobby. It is obligatory for safety. There is also an alarm button at the reception. The police will come within several minutes.

What do they watch?
We are interested in clients’ preferences. "People generally want to watch new films that have been recently shown in cinemas. But the problem is that there are no new products of a good quality. All films in the collection of "5 Rooms" are of the Blu-ray disc format, that’s why they appear only 1.5 months after its premiere in Minsk cinemas. It is possible to find a DVD version of a lower quality and keep pace with cinemas, but we do not do this. It is possible to watch movies online. All TVs have Internet access. Administrators provide with information concerning a plot and actors in order to help visitors with a choice."

There is no film rating, but we’d like to have it very much. But there are three available plasma TVs with a screen of 65 inches each and two three-meter projectors. Projectors have the same features as TVs: movies, karaoke and games. Every visitor has a possibility to choose in advance what they prefer. A special output connects with a phone or laptop, so you can watch music, videos or photographs on the big screen. Someone, for example, has a small birthday party and you’d like to show some photos to please the one whose birthday it is. Or young people after their holidays want to share their photo impressions with their friends. It is a really good reason to get together for a little money, spending the evening in a bar will be much more expensive. And there is a good atmosphere here and nobody disturbs.

Five minutes, five minutes. Is it much or little?
Minimal rental time is one hour. Recently, on January 24, an additional system that allows supplying with electricity when a person enters the room has been installed in "5 Rooms". In the chosen room a light counter starts and notes down the time. Tariffing is counted per minute (mostly it has been done in response to visitors comments that it is foolish to pay, for example, for an hour and a half when you have used a room for an hour and 10 minutes).

Four of the rooms can accommodate up to five people (+ one person extra). In this case it costs 154 000 per hour plus 25 000 for the sixth extra person. There is also a large room, which can accommodate up to 11 people. It will cost 170 000 per hour for a group of 6 people, 25 000 per hour should be paid for each further person.

The bigger the company is, the cheaper rental rooms are. A little bit, but nevertheless. It’s more profitable to have fun when there are 11 people in the company.

A minute, respectively, will cost about 2600 and 2850 for rooms of different size. Pricing information is available on the website.

There is a telephone and online booking. The administrator contacts a client within an hour. 50-60 % of visitors are regular clients and they know that it is better to think it over and order everything in advance, because it is not always possible to find spontaneously in the city a vacant place for relaxing.

In the establishment there is also a horrifying document entitled "Price list of property damage." It is better not to look at it, as it causes extra stress. The price tag is really scary.

Bonus programs
When you come to "5 Rooms", you’ll get a bonus card. Every hour is marked on it with a special stamp. 9 stamps give a right to spend the 10th hour in the room for free. There is a program "A favorite client": when the administrator can make a discount to visitors he liked in order to give them little joy (not a mean trick), especially it concerns positive people. There are no strict rules.

There are weekday offers. From 12.00 to 17.00 the rent hour will make up 110 000 for the room for 5 people during the working week. You can also find different offers of the group VKontakte and on coupon sites.

A room is often rented by lovers of the game device Xvox with the function Kinect. It is an alternative to hiring game devices and games. There is an office of a big IT company near the establishment. The workers of this company are regular visitors of the cinema rooms. They receive 10% discount. These programmers are lucky!

Food. Your own and to order
It is allowed to come with your own food. It can be pizza or sushi. The fact that you can bring your own food gives a person an opportunity to save money. The only condition is that garbage is to be taken away.

At the same time "5 Rooms" cooperates with the cafe "Apartment number 3" , which is located nearby so that food can be delivered as fast as possible. Orders can be received within a half an hour. A menu with fast delivery from the Sushi Theatre is promised to appear in a week. It is possible to choose the institution where you want to order food.

For those who like alcohol
A bar in “5 Rooms” wasn’t planned to be opened at first. Tea, coffee, cola, juice and Fanta were drinks, which you could order there. But now, as the Sochi Olympics and hockey championship in Minsk are coming it was decided to include low-alcohol beverages in the list of drinks. There will be a lot of people wishing to watch matches online. And you can’t do without beer in this case. That’s why there will be a bar in “5 Rooms”. Menu is planned to be made not on paper, but on a Pad-tablet. It was invented for quick information update.

It is not recommended to bring alcoholic drinks, because these rooms are public places. Smoking is not allowed in rooms. There is a special place for smoking at the entrance.

There are three room cinemas in Minsk at the moment

The first “Kinokomnata” appeared in 2012 and was located in the building of the business-center “Parus”. Then the cinema “Private House” was opened near Nemiga station and “5 Rooms” near Yakub Kolas metro station is the last in the list.

Private House

Rental costs per hour: 210 000 (up to 6 people), 300 000 (7-8), 450 000 (9-10), 550 000 (11-12)
Tariffing: every 10 minutes
Food: only ordered in the establishment
Working hours: weekdays - from 16.00 till the last client, weekends – since 14.00 till the last client
The number of people (maximum): 12

Cinema room

Rental costs per hour: 96 000 (up to 4 people) + 10% for each other person 
Tariffing: every minute
Food: can be brought
Working hours: from16.00 till 8.00, at night on Friday - Saturday, Saturday-Sunday  - round-the clock. 
The number of people (maximum): 7

5 Rooms

Rental costs per hour: 154 000 (up to 5 people)
Tariffing: every minute
Food: can be brought
Working hours: While booking the time can be agreed on. Standard working hours – from 12.00 till 6.00
The number of people (maximum): 11


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