The Alamo Drafthouse is world renowned among cinephiles, and a major stop for anyone hitting all of Austin’s major cultural centers.
The Texas institution first became known for its strict enforcement of movie-going etiquette. Fuelled by hundreds of anecdotes about annoying viewers being ejected from the theatre, Austin’s true movie fanatics began coming from further and further just to see movies at the Drafthouse. Between its high-quality food and the famous “zero tolerance policy” for talkers, texters and small children, The Alamo Drafthouse quickly became known as the coolest movie theater in the world.
The Alamo has since become a fixture of the movie-going world, hosting the Quentin Tarantino Film Festival and showing special pre-screenings of hotly anticipated films like No Country for Old Men. The staff are so rabid about movies that they began the Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow, which delights fans around the world by screening 35mm versions of famous films in famous locations. The crew uses its portable projection rig to show It Came from Outer Space in Roswell, New Mexico, The Warriors on Coney Island, The Shining at the Stanley Hotel, and much more.
There aren’t many theaters left which show both major Hollywood films and older, cult classics, and fewer still that do it with style. Patrons of the Alamo Drafthouse are as likely to find a showing of this year’s high anticipated film The Master as they are of the 1954 classic Godzilla. From top to bottom, this is a destination for those with a serious love of cinema.
The Alamo chain has spread across the American south, from Texas to Louisiana and Kentucky, but the focus remains the same: smaller theaters with an emphasis on the movie-going experience and a serious commitment to enforcement. When the original location was moved, attendees of the last showing in the original theater were allowed to disassemble their seat and take it home at the end of the night; that’s how much Texans love the Alamo Drafthouse.
Every location has that spirit at its core, building on the company’s reputation for phenomenal customer service. Still, travellers looking for the true historical center of the Alamo phenomenon will want to head to Austin, where the original founders still run the show.