Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Alamo Draft House- Hard Hat Tour!

I got to go on a special Hard Hat Tour of the new Alamo Draft House , which will be opening in mid-late July on Central Park Ave in Yonkers .  It was exciting, and I can't wait for it to open!

The old theatre that was there had 1780 seats.  This facility will have 6 theatres with a total of 666 seats, and all theatres provide dine-in service.  The theatres will range in size from 26 seats (a rental theatre that will be great for birthday parties and small events, as well as experimental films) to 224 seats.  That theatre will be equipped with both digital projectors and 35mm projectors, so classic films can still be shown.

Alamo is a cinema-eatery that started in Austin, and they now have 14 locations around the country.  They specialize in showing art-films and genre film festivals, as well as select new releases.  They also serve appetizers, food, over 30 different kinds of beer on tap (including hometown brewery Captain Lawrence), and desserts, making it a whole evening out in one.  

I spoke with the kitchen manager Jeff Rinehart, who talked about some of the exciting programs that they have that integrate food with cinema.  

For example, they sometimes have special meals that are timed to movies, so that you might get to eat Chocolate at just the right moment in Like Water For Chocolate, or have a piece of cake at just the right moment in 4 Weddings and a Funeral

They also had a special meal for the movie Groundhog Day, which consisted of the same 4 ingredients combined in different ways again and again and again.

I also spoke for some time with Alexis, the programming/community manager for Yonkers, who talked a lot about Alamo's community commitment.  They have a generous discount policy for non-profit rentals, and are eager to work with the community to create fundraising events and other activities.

  I suggested to her that a monthly Westchester film/slam, that featured works of young directors might be a great idea, and she seemed to really like that idea (but made no commitments of course)  She also said they were looking into the possibility of participating in the Yonkers Film Festival (currently slated for October at the Riverfront Library) They will also have a number of themed festivals and special events.  

Alamo strives for an uninterrupted movie experience, which means no latecomers, no advertisements other than trailers before the movie, and a strict no talking/texting/cellphone policy.  They admitted that they have their work cut out for them in NY.  Here's a sample of their policy.

One of the things making Alamo a great place to watch movies is our enforcement of the ‘rules for watching movies.’ In other words, we don’t tolerate disruptive behavior in the theaters and we’ve received a lot of press and accolades for our adherence to this position.  If you are a person who likes to talk, text or use your cell phone during a movie, we are not the place for you!  If on the other hand, you crave a great movie watching experience free from interruptions, please join us!We position ourselves as a theater that takes extreme pride in providing an excellent and undisturbed movie watching experience.  If you are a movie lover, you can expect a great environment at our theaters, free from talkers, texters, cell phone users or disruptive behavior.  We enforce the policy with pride and people who disrupt other patrons will be ejected from the theater.  Should you find this policy being broken, please help us and raise an order card to alert the staff and management about a disruptive patron.  Management will handle the problem and we appreciate your help in keeping our great environment in tact!

Guests cannot enter the theater after the movie has begun. This means when the feature begins, so you can still come in while our ad tape and trailers are playing. The reason for this policy is to preserve the movie watching experience with minimal interruptions, much like our no talking and texting policy. If you show up to your desired screening late we will happily give you a full refund or exchange your ticket for a different show.

Tim League, CEO and founder
of Alamo Drafthouse
Finally, I also got to speak with Tim League, CEO of Alamo Drafthouse, who was on hand.  I asked him if he was worried about the Sundance cinemas that were announced in Dobbs Ferry.  He said (and I quote) "The tide rises for all ships."  Which is just the right attitude to have, in my opinion. 

Between Jacob Burns and Alamo and Sundance, Westchester is turning into a bit of a mecca for independent films!  And that will engender even more activity.

Find out more about Alamo at 

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