By Clare Myers
Movie tickets can be a hard sell these days, with Netflix and Redbox competing for audiences’ eyes and wallets. But coming soon to the Dallas/Fort Worth area are two new locations of the Alamo Drafthouse, a cinema that aims to provide a superior viewing experience for filmgoers.
This Saturday, Nov. 8, the Austin-based chain breaks ground on what will be its second DFW theater, in the up-and-coming Cedars neighborhood. The first location began operations in Richardson last August, and the new theater is slated to open its doors in 2015. “When we looked at the site … we said, ‘It feels like Alamo.’ And we said, ‘Why isn’t there a theater down there? Why hasn’t anyone taken the leap?” said Bill DiGaetano, COO of the franchise, in an interview with The Dallas Morning News.
The Alamo Drafthouse is a chain of theaters that take a more sophisticated approach to film than the average cinema. Offerings vary by location, often serving up eclectic mixes of first runs, cult movies and film events.
The new site, which is planned to have eight screens and a seating capacity of around 1,000, will become the only theater in downtown Dallas. And it will be more than just a theater. In Alamo Drafthouse theaters, patrons write down food and drink orders on pieces of paper and waiters bring the orders to the table during the show so customers do not have to get up and disturb those around them. The chain is known for enforcing its code of theater etiquette, which prohibits texting and talking during the movie.
In addition to the theater itself, on the second floor of the two-story Cedars complex will be the Glass Half Full Taproom, a bar proper that will have a 200-person capacity. The bar will also have two outdoor patios, one that faces the bright lights of downtown and the other that has the potential for live music and outdoor screenings.
University of Dallas students have even more to look forward to, since Alamo Drafthouse plans to open a third location near the Irving Convention Center. The theater will be part of the Music Factory in Las Colinas, an entertainment complex scheduled to open in 2016. The $165 million complex will also include over 25 restaurants and entertainment venues and an indoor/outdoor concert hall. The groundbreaking for the Music Factory took place in August.
The groundbreaking celebration for the downtown Alamo Drafthouse location will feature a free screening of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” on an inflatable screen in the parking lot next to Cedars Social. The future site of the Alamo Drafthouse is close by. The event, which begins at 5 p.m., will also have food trucks and a selection of beers from Deep Ellum Brewing Company. The ceremony itself will take place at sundown, with the screening immediately following. Participants are asked to bring their own chairs.