I’ve never been more excited for a new business moving into the DFW Metroplex than I am right now. That’s because a mere 15 minutes away from me is an Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a haven for true movie fans. They cater to the people that aren’t simply content with the average cinema experience. We want more. Talking, texting, and cell phone use are not just against their policy, they actually enforce that rule with eagerness. You get one warning then you’re gone. Without that we are left with a safe place for cinema to flourish, but not just the blockbuster flicks at every megaplex.
Instead, the Drafthouse also does repertory showings, and because they also serve food and drinks you’ll find they often go the extra mile to do wild things like food pairings with particular film events. In fact, they still have wine that they had paired with a showing of Silence of the Lambs. You know you want that Chianti with a side of fava beans. Additionally, their food is a step above most competitors. These are items you’d actually visit a restaurant to order.
Critics have said that with the expansion of the Austin-based theater chain they have started to lose the flair and uniqueness that made them a place you’d drive past other theaters to get to. Their food, some say, isn’t quite what it used to be. Having only known the Drafthouse for three years now while visiting Austin for various film festivals, I can say that their menu has definitely had some hefty revisions and changes. Not all change is bad, just as not all change is good, but the tasting I had at a secret screening Wednesday night was exactly what I have come to expect from the Alamo. Additionally, being a craft beer fan I can confidently say that it will be unlikely fellow beer connoisseurs won’t be able to find something to please them.
After all, their middle name is Drafthouse and they take that side pretty seriously, too. Love local? They have you covered. I’d also suggest checking out some of their adult milkshakes with various alcohols mixed in and some even paired with beer. Trust me, here. Dark beer and ice cream makes for a delicious delight.
Speaking of adults, though, while the Alamo definitely caters towards those 18 and over—kids under that age can’t show up without a parent present—the kiddos are also on their mind. They’ve got you covered with things like Kid’s Camp, where the tickets are first come, first served but also free. The first on the docket is Madagascar this weekend. They also have select showings where kids are encouraged to attend called Baby Days on Tuesday afternoons where they turn the lights up a bit and the sound down. Escape with your kid or just let the little one sleep while you take in a movie without the fear of your infant disturbing others. Did I mention infants get in free for these? Of course they do. Something else that is ridiculously cool is that this Alamo, built from scratch in the Richardson Heights Shopping Center, houses the largest screen of any Drafthouse yet.
With a screen 60 feet high and seating for 250, this is definitely going to be a staple location for any of the big event pictures. While the Drafthouse takes their cinema seriously, they also love to have fun. That’s why they have things like Quote-a-Longs, Sing-a-Longs, and hilarious events like Master Pancake. But more than anything, the Drafthouse, to me, is a place where I know I’m in good company. There’s a pride in their presentation and the culture they nurture. This place is for cinema fans, and I’ve never felt out of place. Strike up a conversation before the movie starts with your seatmates. You’d be surprised how far people might have traveled to soak in the experience.
Everything about the Drafthouse is a destination. I’d encourage everyone to arrive early. Not just to get picky with the menu and make sure your meal arrives before the film starts, but to also check out the hilarious ad-free preshows they utilize. For The Terminator, like the secret screening Wednesday, they had a greatest hits of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s commentary track of Total Recall, both foreign and local commercials he had done and some hilarious ones from Japan where he seemed to constantly be advertising for noodles. Not every pre-show is this specific, particularly the average first-run film, but they’re often a mix of absurd and hilarious clippings from obscure sources that makes arriving early entertaining and worthwhile.
I’m confident that I’ll not be the lone person to tell a patron to be quiet, to turn off their phone, or quit acting a fool in the Drafthouse and I can’t wait. So get familiar with the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and come on by. I’m glad to share them with you, cinema fans.
– Interior photos courtesy of Pegasus News