|Address:||320 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701, USA|
A Private User
In short, the funky / cool / moviefile atmosphere at each of the Austin locations is a welcome change of pace from the sterilized mega-plex movie theaters. Moreover, I cant fathom why there arent more theaters like this around the country and the Alamo Drafthouse makes it hard to go back to the AMCs of the world. This is just an awesome place to kickback and enjoy anything from first-run movies to some of the excellent retreads they show occasionally during the week. The hook is the long counters that run across the front of every row in the theater and the wait staff who *quietly" fumble around in the darkness to grab your orders (written on scrap paper provided) and bring you all the beer and pub fare (appetizers, salads, entrees) you could ask for at your seats. Noise is never a problem and, as pub fare goes, the food is surprisingly excellent (think select items from TGIFridays), affordable, and always tastes fresh. I think the reviewer who panned it must have some curious expectations for pub food. I eat dinner there every time I go and have yet to be disappointed (although if they say spicy, they mean it). Ive been to South Lamar and "the Ritz" Downtown. Both have their charms and both are very popular on the weekends so if you want to see a movie, almost regardless of what it is, buy tickets online and go 45 min. early to stand in line. May seem like a hassle but absolutely worth it. If you are a party 2 or more, I recommend getting a bucket of beer (5 bottles for the price of 4 and you can mix and match off the 25+ item beer list) as it will save you money and you dont have to keep ordering since the beer will be on ice at your feet. I also happen to love the Fried Pickles appetizer - something relatively new to me but unexpectedly delicious the best ones Ive found around town including Katz Deli. Ticket prices are reasonable and on par with most places. One thing I definitely recommend checking out if you are looking for something a little different is Master Pancake - a comedic troop of three guys who crack jokes throughout the course of the movie they selected that week. I was a little weary initially but these guys are very, very good, at what they do, professional in the comedic sense, and absolutely hilarious. 5 stars all around for my experience with the Drafthouse. I may never go to another movie theater (if there is an Alamo in the area).
Every time I go to another theatre, Im reminded why I always go back to the Alamo Drafthouse. Its the little things. The attention to detail. The fact that they actually care about your movie watching experience. The specials and the productions they do just for the movie lovers. Look, if you want to text your friends in the theater or bring your disruptive kids or submit your own commentary, save yourself the cost of the ticket, because youre just going to be walked out. You can call it elitist, or you can call it horrible customer service or whatever you want -- there are dozens of theaters all over town that will be more than happy to take your money and let you be as disruptive as you want. And good for them! But its not where I want to see a movie. I want to see a movie where the audience is there to see the movie. Where they care about the movie and the experience of going to see a movie. Where the staff cares as much as everyone in the theater. Where the film is always in good condition with no scratches, lines, dust, or any other distractions. Where the sound isnt so loud I get a headache nor so low I cant hear the dialog. Where the projectors are never run at half wattage to save electricity and the theaters arent clean because the staff is overworked. None of that ever happens at the Alamo Drafthouse. On top of it, you can get real food and real drink (like a glass of beer, and Im not talking about no paper cup, Im talking about a glass of beer). Granted, the selection isnt what youll find at a place like the Gingerman, but its still quite good!
The Ritz Alamo Drafthouse downtown offers the same great food and eclectic cinema as the other Austin theaters, and it has the extra hipness of being right on Sixth Street just west of Trinity. However, occupying a space built in 1929 presents some architectural drawbacks for the progressive Alamo chain, not the least of which is a strange split-level design in which lobby, box office, and kitchen are on the ground floor, but the theater is up a narrow staircase (a minor inconvenience for nimble youth, a minor challenge for chunky middle-aged people, and hell for wait staff). The chairs at the Ritz are the first-generation Alamo seats, which are quite plush and comfortable, but Im already spoiled by the reclining second-generation of chairs at the Village. On the other hand, the Sixth Street location means more college students on the street, so the Ritz offers a selection of films thats more eclectic than the mainstream tsunami threatening the innovation of the Alamo Drafthouse in the Village. If Im willing to put up with downtown parking (or a bus ride for which there might not be a return when the movies over), then I can catch some older classics, and that makes me nostalgic for the pre-VHS UT campus in the 1970s when a dozen films played every night in the lecture halls and a cinematic education was there for anyone who made the effort. The Ritz offers a slice of that, but I have to work a little harder, starting with those stairs....
A Private User
Master Pancake Theater What better place to watch a movie than the Alamo Draft House and what better way to watch movies like Forest Gump, Titanic, Mad Max and Twilight than with comedic commentary through out the movie. Along the lines of the well known Mystery Science Theater 3000, Master Pancake Theater puts a new spin on the idea by performing live interpretations in front of a movie crowd along with drinking games and themed skits. Master Pancake Theater is not the original name of the show, it was "Mr. Sinus Theater 3000. In 2004 the people from "Mystery Science Theater 3000 took exception to the name and filed a lawsuit after which the name was changed. So whats the story behind the name? Well, nothing. Master Pancake was on a long list of random name ideas they came up with and Master Pancake Theater just stuck. The show always begins with the crew on stage, sometimes illuminated by a spotlight, performing some stand up about the movie. This is the beginning to an obvious theme of crowd participation which is a part of their show. Usually about 3/4 of the way in the show they "Stop the movie" and take the stage again to perform a themed improv which mocks scenes in the movie and often involves volunteers from the audience.
This is the best movie theatre experience out there. The Alamo chain is quite different than traditional theatres: -you buy tickets online or at the theatre and can select your seats ahead of time. No need to show up super early to get a decent seat for a popular show. -food and drinks are served during the movie. There are little bar-like tables in front of all the seats and a waiter takes your order just prior to the movie. -there is no talking or any cellphone use whatsoever. They are dead serious about this and do kick people out The food is pretty good here and they have rotating seasonal selection. Better than pub food, but nothing fancy enough that you feel bad about never really looking at what youre eating. Prices for tickets, food, and drinks are all very good - definitely cheaper than going to a movie and dinner separately. Alamo also puts on fun special events like sing-alongs, throwback movies, and kid-oriented stuff in the summer. The Ritz location is my favorite because it is closest to my house and to other attractions downtown. I just wish they had a better movie selection...there are just two screens and the films they play tend to be the blockbusters that Im not too excited for.