Blasphemy at the movies
OK children, raise your hands if you enjoy going to the Alamo Drafthouse. Alright you can all put your hands down. The reason I am asking this is twofold. One, I have not met anyone who does not like going there to watch movies or other events. Two, I wanted to speak blasphemy: the Alamo may not be the best place in town to watch a movie anymore.
Being a former movie critic and current enthusiast, I try and go see a movie in every different theater in town. Also since I am the organizer of the New To Austin meetup I search for the best places in town to host potential events. You can have a vastly different experience even from going from one Alamo to another, just look at the Village versus the Slaughter Lane location.
Enter Moviehouse & Eatery on north 620. This new theatre is brought to you by the same people who have the very '90s-style Galaxy Theatre at Highland Mall and their first “Alamo-style” theatre Flix Brewhouse in Round Rock. What makes the Moviehouse different is the experience they offer for watching a movie. You have traditional screens where you can go get popcorn & Icees from the snack bar. There is also a DFX (Dang Fantastic Xpolsions?) three story tall screen for the movies where a screen built for mortals just won’t do. The ones that makes it worth the drive from the other end of town are the Dine In (Alamo style) screens. Three words… Giant Leather Recliners. In all the dine-in screens there are recliners that will quickly make you forget you are at a theatre. With a simple push of a button you can recline almost all the way back. Especially for long movies these make all the difference in the world.
Ordering here can be a bit of a hassle since unlike the Alamo you have to push a blue light and hope the waiter sees it when you want to order or need a refill. When it comes to the menu, it does not disappoint. The Big Jake is by far the best thing I have eaten there. It's a hamburger with pepper jack, jalapeños, red pepper relish, and bacon. While it sounds like it would be extremely spicy, it does not overdo the heat, you get just the right amount of burn. Although after going to the Alamo for so long I am used to getting a milkshake and sadly they have none here. Come to think of it, there are very few sweet options on the menu, I mean come on what if we ate before the show and just want something to make our sweet tooth happy and the dentist mad.
Finally, I could not mention this place without saying how great the staff and management have been. Being the organizer of the New to Austin meetup group I often get requests for events to go see new movies. Opening weekend of "The Hobbit," they were able to let me reserve almost half of the theatre without having to pay up front. Since I did not know how many of the Meetup group would come it was hard (ie impossible) to get money from everyone beforehand. Everyone loved the event, even my friend who fell asleep said it was the best movie nap she had ever had. Another benefit is the price, Dine-In seats are only $12.50.
Now, is this going to replace the Alamo? No. The Moviehouse can feel like a Starbucks, it really wants to be the local coffee shop, but it still feels like a large chain. This is not a place that I could ever see having a "Master Pancake" or a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Quote-A-Long" (with all-you-can-eat pizza). While there are no pre-show cartoons or movie clips, this might just be the best new theatre in town, especially since Peter Jackson still has two more damn hobbit movies in the works!