It had been almost 2 years since we last visited the Alamo Drafthouse. It was the summer of 2019, before the Earth Stood Still, the last time we sat down in their Dark City theater to watch the big screen.
Six months before he Covid media blitz Downtown’s future was set in Gold, shimmering with a bright, booming economy with a hospitality industry rivaled by some of the world’s best.
It was then a well-known Texas theater house called Alamo Drafthouse opened its doors at TheBloc Shopping Center in the heart of the Financial District.
We had high expectations for the Alamo Drafthouse. Yet, we were so disappointed at the service and overall experience we felt compelled to publish a not-so-positive review. We let Drafthouse have it, gave suggestions and sarcasm and brutal honesty about what happened to us and how their Carnival of Lost Souls could fix themselves to blend into Downtown – as if they really had to listen to us.
Two years later when we found out Wakanda Forever was playing at the Alamo Drafthouse we figured, sure, why hold The Grudge any longer? Surely our experience wouldn’t be as crummy as the last time. Or would it?
We decided to risk it mostly because Wakanda Forever was 2 hours and 44 minutes. If we’re gonna sit through a three-hour movie we figured we’d better be darn comfortable. And what could be comfier than the reclining armchairs at the Alamo?
Although a Night to Dismember experience of having a run-in with security and a fellow movie patron for no apparent fault of our own plus being threatened by the cashier when they first arrived back in 2019, faded into all the other horrifying memories of 2020 episodes being, the comfortable seats at the Alamo had managed to plant its self firm in our memories.
Returning to the Alamo, made our way past the front desk without incident. The cashier seemed comfortable at her first notice of us, she was cordial and friendly and seemed to know somehow we had pre-purchased our tickets with the Alamo App passing on an opportunity to examine them. “Go right up”, she said with a smile.
We took the escalator further up into the unknown.
Walking the halls, passing old B-movie posters, mannequins, and treasured movie artifacts, we found our seat in the dimmed theater with the escort of our hostess/server in Row 3.
We sat down in the theater about 20 minutes before the movie started. Pushing on recliner buttons and situated in our seats, the server began explaining the strict “no-no” talking policy and showing us with the provided pencil and memo paper just how to order our food from the kitchen.
“We only have one rule here” she explained with the grace of a fourth-grade teacher. “This is a no talking theater, so if you need me after the movie starts, all you have to do is push this little red button and I will appear.”
Really? Like “I Dream of Jeanie?”
Looking over the menus our skeptical minds held fast to the days of old; popcorn, nachos, soda, and candy. But wait, Alamo Drafthouse was now serving menu items prepared by Chef Erick Cielo from Hatch.
Knowing items we ordered on the menu were coming from Hatch moved the level of excitement up a good two notches. Situated just below in the Bloc Courtyard, Hatch Yakitori Bar never fails to disappoint. To have the privilege of Hatch side by side with theater popcorn on the same tray in front of us was tremendous. So that’s why we found no scent of old grease burning in the kitchen as we traveled the hall?
We ordered Hatch Green Chiles Fries, Large Fountain Drink with extra ice, and a Pretzel. We know, we know… no beer, wine, or mixed drinks. Sorry, it was 5 o’clock somewhere but in DTLA it was 11 am.
“Would you like some water while you wait?” asked our server.
Huh free water? Well Alright!
OK, that had to be the nicest sequence of welcomes in a theater ever to occur.
In the two years since our review, Alamo Drafthouse had changed its entire menu, replaced the concession staff with experience servers, and managed not to make us feel unwanted or unwelcome in any way.
Playing the Devil’s Advocate we tried again to revisit the ill feelings leaving the Alamo of yesteryear, but they just weren’t there. Here was a new Alamo. The old had become Alien to us.
Our return to the Alamo was so hospitable, we wondered how many months of pure movie-watching bliss we’d missed out on since they had made the change.
We shed 100 Tears at the Alamo that day. Tears of joy for the theater’s redemption, tears of rage for the loss of King T’Challa, and tears for our ancestors whose descendants were still fighting to get their lands back or in movie hero Namor’s case, fighting to keep their people from ever being displaced by the War of the World’s.
Sincerely, Alamo had become so comfortable there was no way we couldn’t recommend a theater as peaceful as the underwater city of Talokan, hidden and protected from the outside world.
Parking was validated inside the parking lot at TheBloc. Driving up the spiral ramp four stories The Thing made us dizzy enough to crash but the drive down gave us time to reflect and decide to write a new review; where we would recommend a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse to anyone with eyes, anyone in love, anyone alone and anyone who loves the movies. Thank you Alamo Drafthouse for coming to our neighborhood and being a part of the DTLA community. www.alamodrafthouse.com