It makes up for that by being a destination where you can happily hang out before and after the movie, offering a sense of occasion and the feeling of being part of a delicious secret.
I love the sense of history. Golden Age is located in the basement of an art deco building in Commonwealth Street that was home to Paramount Pictures from 1940 to the 1970s.
Golden Age opened in 2013 after careful restoration, with the slogan “the good old days are now”.
The screening room – used by film executives over the years and to screen news reels during World War II – has wood panelling and 56 genuine 1940s-era cinema chairs with plush velvet seats.
One of the things I love about the cinema is the unexpected choice of films. You get plenty of big releases – Ad Astra, Joker and The Goldfinch are showing now or coming soon.
There’s also an intriguing mix of arthouse, documentary and repertoire films – think the original Ghostbusters, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet, 1960s French flicks, Birds of Passage, Jim Jarmusch movies.
The first time I went to Golden Age, in 2014, I saw an awesome documentary, I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story, about the original performer of Sesame Street characters Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.
It was fascinating but not something I would have seen if a friend hadn’t brought me along to check out the venue.
In the heart of Sydney’s lockout zone – though perhaps that will change soon – it’s also nice that the adjoining small bar is open late.
The bar is also furnished in 1940s style, with dim lighting and flickering candles and a great range of food and drink. I recommend the cheese toasties with artisanal pickles and crisps.
There is a dash of cinematic flavour to the names on the cocktail list- a Godfather, Stand by Me or Sicario, anyone?
In keeping with the era, there are several types of negroni, spritz, sour and old-fashioned.
The bar hosts live music on Saturday nights with a focus on single launches from up and coming indie artists, such as Kat Edwards and Quivers.
This year the cinema is hosting a zodiac-themed series called Elements Rising, tapping into the well-documented love affair Millennials have with all things astrological.
In case you missed it, horoscopes are hot right now, albeit usually in an ironic, meme-driven way. Apps like Co-Star and Instagram accounts like Not All Geminis fuel the demand and brands are responding to that – for example, Spotify now offers playlists based on your star sign.
The next in the Golden Age series is the “Scorpio Rising” event on November 20 – for which they’ve picked the 1999 film Cruel Intentions with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Phillippe.
You can pair the ticket with a pre-film tarot reading in the bar but with just eight slots available, you’ll need to book in advance.
Perhaps a visit is on the cards.
Caitlin Fitzsimmons is a senior writer for The Sun-Herald, focusing on social affairs.