Last week marked the opening of the the first Alamo Drafthouse in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The chain of theaters started in Austin in 1997, where it has since thrived amongst a strong community of cinephiles.
For those unfamiliar with this chain, it’s known for its dedication to creating a positive movie-going experience. Absolutely no talking or texting is permitted during the movie (one transgression gets you a warning, and a second will get you kicked out without a refund). They don’t show commercials, and they provide pre-show entertainment in the form of live speakers or behind-the-scenes footage with actors or directors. The new Drafthouse (located in the city of Richardson) opened its doors with a with a series of robot-themed films (The Terminator, The Iron Giant, and Forbidden Planet among them) . I went to see the Drafthouse’s showing of Fritz Lang’s 1927 classic Metropolis, and before the film began, I was treated to the following friendly reminder to be courteous and quiet during the movie:
Brilliant. I wish more movies started with my favorite actors calling me “punk.”
The movie-watching experience itself was superb. The version of Metropolis we watched was the re-mastered cut– the one with the missing footage that was unearthed in Argentina in 2010. And this already-great silent film was augmented by a truly masterful stroke on the Drafthouse’s part: the addition of a live orchestra providing the soundtrack. A skilled band of guitar, synthesizer, drums, and trombone players improvised a score for the film as it played out, creating a wholly unique and unforgettable movie-going experience.
The Drafthouse also sports an extensive menu that rises far above the usual movie theater fare. I had a juicy burger topped with prosciutto, feta, and spinach. And I ordered it by filling out a little order card, which the waiters and waitresses silently snatch without having to disturb your movie with unnecessary chatter. And I haven’t even mentioned the Drafthouse’s impressive drink menu. With over 30 beers on tap (as well as a wide selection of wines and mixed drinks), the Drafthouse has something to everyone’s taste. Feeling adventurous, I sampled a Martin House There Will Be Stout, a pretzel stout that is actually infused with over six pounds of crushed pretzels per barrel. It was strange, salty, and certainly pretzel-y. I’m excited to sample more of of the theater’s local brews.
The Alamo Drafthouse is everything I want in a theater and more. It eschews pretentiousness (it’ll show blockbusters and classics as well as indie flicks) and exists purely to please those with a passion for movies. So yeah, between the amazing food, drinks, atmosphere and movies on rotation, I’ve already decided: I’m gonna make this place my second home.