March 31, 2007 Justin Chin

A Love Letter to the Alamo – Remember the Alamo!


I wrote this review for the Alamo Draft House in Austin, TX, and sent it over to, Movie Theatre Blog. Geoff the guy who runs the blog is an old co-worker and friend. His love of film is inspiring. Here is the review (before he edits it, heh):

This is a review for The Alamo Draft House at the Village Shopping Center in Austin, TX, aka the Alamo Village. There are several other Alamo theaters in Austin but this was my first, and as they say, you always remember your first. More than that, I can’t get enough, even to this day.

The Alamo Village is a small theater that has none of the frills. The seats are not particularly comfortable, the atmosphere isn’t plush nor inviting, and the location is frankly quite forgettable.

But whenever a new film that I want to see comes out, I hope and hope that it’ll arrive the Alamo. Why? The reason you see a film at the Alamo is that it’s an experience. Each one of the Alamo theaters have a Chef, and serve alcohol. Yes, that’s right you eat, and drink as you watch an old film, or better yet a new one. Sin City and the Lord of the Rings was perfect for this screen. You can’t go wrong. You are in the company of others who are not there just to see the feature, but to experience a night out. You want to have a nice bit of food (sometimes inspired by the film itself) and a great beverage. Pizza, sandwiches, burgers and pastas are the fare – do you need anything else? Plus, the selection of beers and wines are quite nice. And desert is not out of the question.

How does all this work?

Well, we would always plan to arrive early, so we can order our food (it takes around 30 minutes to prepare) and have a drink. The seats have plenty of room in front and back to accommodate the helpful and quiet servers, as well as the bench dining table in front of you. You just write down your order on a piece a paper, and post it on the table. The server will spot it and pick it up. If they have any questions they’ll discretely inquire. That simple. Enjoy your film, and when the food arrives enjoy a meal while you watch. If you want more, write it down and post it on your table. When you’re done, they’ll bring a check around. You don’t have to move.

In this day and age when you can build your own surround sound theater in your living room and enjoy your own quiet and comfortable space it’s hard to go out. So that’s why the Alamo appeals to me. I don’t have to make the food, and it comes to me ready to eat with no dishes to clean. Plus, the Alamo draws in the movie going crowd, not just any crowd, but the ones that want to be there, and for all the right reasons – to enjoy great cinema no matter the surroundings. It’s an experience you can enjoy even if the film is horrible. Isn’t that a plus?

Anyone that lives in Austin already knows this. That’s why it’s a great town. I’m not a native Austinite, nor do I live there anymore. The experience of the Alamo is a reminder of how good the theater going experience can be. So this is not only a review for one of Austin’s best kept secrets, but a reminder for all of us to go out and find those theaters we love. We should get to know them and support them, big or small. We should do this because, like the old University Theater in Berkeley, CA, they might not be there when you want them the most.



(how could you not love a group that puts on shows like this?)