London Walking Tours    with Joanna Moncrieff

The Rialto – the tale of a forgotten cinema

I discovered a forgotten gem in London last night. The Rialto Cinema in Coventry Street (near Leicester Square) was described by Nikolaus Pevsner as having “the finest early cinema interior in London, worthy of a full-scale theatre”. Built in 1912-13 it is today used as a rather downmarket casino and the gamblers seem oblivious to their opulent surroundings. The exterior of no. 3-4 Coventry Street doesn’t really stand out but the interior is breathtaking.

I’ve been unable to find an interior photo on the internet and there is a distinct lack of information available but this American website has a few details:

Details of the casino if you want to check out the interior for yourself are at:

It is a real shame that it’s hidden away from the general public and isn’t being used for its original purpose.

4 Responses to The Rialto – the tale of a forgotten cinema

  • one of the lost gems I have always wanted to visit, Jo. It is a shame it is not used for its intended purpose – like so many others!

  • We could visit when you're in London if you like. I think entry is free but you may need to get membership of casino in advance.

  • Hi Jo,

    Glad you noticed how amazing the building was… I too thought it was one of the highlights of the evening.

    I agree it's a shame that it is not used as it was designed, but glad we haven't lost it as so many others.

    Yes, entrance is free. You will need an ID only. Which they will register your details for 'membership' however this is just for security.


  • You are able to become a member of the Casino for free and enter the building. As the building is listed, one is able to see much of the original decor behind the glitz of the casino. It is still very beautiful and well worth a visit when in London.