AUSTIN (KXAN) — Alamo Drafthouse is an Austin original, starting with a single, single-screen theater on Colorado Street in 1997 and expanding to 21 cities and regions across the United States
The original location no longer exists, but Austin is now home to five Alamo Drafthouse theaters. Each includes a kitchen and bar. Moviegoers order from their seats and theater staff order by ferry, meaning the moviegoer doesn’t miss a minute.
“I always tell people that on a Friday or Saturday night when we’re really busy, we can have anywhere from two to five restaurants at the same time,” said John Smith, senior film programmer for Alamo Drafthouse.
But there’s more to the Alamo Drafthouse experience than food, drink and a movie.
Each theater’s lobby is themed around a particular movie and features vintage movie posters and memorabilia. The South Lamar site, for example, is based on Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film “The Shining.”
“Alamos, they don’t come out of a box. Each is its own unique beast. Each is unique in many ways,” Smith said. “
While theaters and the kitchen require their own architectural considerations, Alamo architects have plenty of room to build large rooms and sprinkle in small details. At the Alamo’s Mueller location, guests can walk under a flying saucer replica (a reference to close encounters of the third kind).
An easily overlooked detail in the same location is the excess film reels on the railings – each once containing film. This film has since been digitized by the American Film Genre Archive, or AFGA, an Austin nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation.
AFGA began in 2009 with a donation of old film reels from the Alamo’s Village and Slaughter Lane sites.
“The AFGA has become a leading force in preserving, cleaning up and re-releasing films that many people have forgotten about. Genre films are often overlooked, but are really, really vital,” Smith said.
Smith said Alamo Drafthouse’s collection of movie posters, films and other artifacts began with company founders Tim and Karrie League.
“A lot of it goes back, ultimately, to the nerd interests and obsessions of the people who worked here and ran the business. Those interests extended to all of our locations, like the posters you see on the wall, many of which are likely from Tim’s collection,” Smith said.
Check out some of the posters from the Mueller location of the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin below:
Beyond films and memorabilia, each venue hosts unique events, such as Queer Film Theory 101 at the Mueller site. It also offers special movie experiences, including unique themed menus and movie nights that involve interactive props.
This The story is part of a KXAN series highlighting Central Texas activities – you can see our full list on our “Central Texas Things to Do” page. Do you have an idea of something we should profile? Email us at [email protected]