How Amy Winehouse biopic Back to Black uses the iconic locations that made her famous

Back to Black immerses us in the triumphs and tragedies of Britain's ill-fated music sensation Amy Winehouse. Actor Marisa Abela delivers a stunning performance, and performs all her own singing, as the ill-fated contralto singer whose singular vocal range and meteoric chart-topping success was undercut by drugs, alcohol and paparazzi intrusion, ultimately leading to her death at the mere age of 27.

Director Sam Taylor-Johnson aimed for authenticity, to the extent she and her crew shot in the actual locations once frequented by Winehouse and her family. Taylor-Johnson tells Time Out London: "As much as possible, I wanted to be authentic to the places that she loved and feel the spirit of [Amy Winehouse]. I feel like we’ve honoured the city."

Did you spot the following locations on your first viewing of the film? If not, then read our London guide, then go back and watch Back to Black again to see when they turn up. Don't forget to claim your free Back to Black poster by visiting any Cineworld cinema (excl. Dublin) and presenting a valid ticket for Back to Black between April 12th and April 25th 2024.


1. Ronnie Scott’s, Soho

Established in 1959, this legendary jazz club is a London institution and it features prominently in Back to Black. Winehouse's grandmother, Cynthia (played in the film by Lesley Manville), also a jazz singer, had once dated Scott himself, who would regularly invite the Winehouse family to gigs, right up until his death in 1996. 

Winehouse performed regularly at the venue and recalled an amusing moment when, at the age of 13 and in the nascent years of her music career, she was interrupted by a rock and roll legend.

“After he [Scott] died we went down there, did a gig. I was singing a tune – and I don’t care if people are talking, in fact I like it if people are talking ’cause it gives me a chance to go into one with the band, and my dad was in the audience,” Winehouse told the New Camden Journal in 2006. “He turned around to whoever was in the audience and said: ‘Will you shut the f**k up’ and this man goes ‘sorry’ and it was Mick Jagger. And my Dad’s like: ‘It was only Mick Jagger!’”

Image of Ronnie Scott's club


2. Flamin’ Eight Tattoo Studio, Camden

Winehouse was distinguished by her tattoos and she regularly got inked at this Camden tattoo parlour. Flamin' Eight features in several scenes in the film as part of Sam Taylor-Johnson's desire for verisimilitude. 

Image of Flamin' Eight Tattoo Studio


3. The Good Mixer, Camden

The Good Mixer is where Winehouse first met Blake Fielder-Civil (played by Jack O'Connell), who later became her husband and remains a controversial figure in her eventual emotional spiral. The pub's distinctive geography was a gift to Sam Taylor-Johnson and the film crew.

"It was a gift that the two rooms are divided by the bar," she tells Time Out London. "You could have her on one side watching him on the other, and then they come together in the back bar where we see them falling in love with that long one-take."


4. The Mildmay Club, Stoke Newington

In the film, Blake's painful separation from Winehouse (the first one at least) takes place in this famous snooker club. It's another key location in the up-and-down tapestry of Winehouse's life, again deployed by Taylor-Johnson to its fullest effect.

"It’s an amazing old working men’s club and snooker hall, and all the cues around the hall belonged to men who didn't come back from World War I," says Taylor-Johnson. "It’s so hard these days to find places that have remained untouched, but it adds another level of character."


5. Bar Italia, Soho

Amy and Mitch Winehouse (played in the film by Eddie Marsan) were said to be fond of this Soho hangout. The film scrambles events a tad by making it the place where Winehouse decides she will go to rehab.


Click the link below to book your tickets for Back to Black. The film is on release now at Cineworld.