DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Dinner and a movie will never be the same in Brooklyn.
The Alamo Drafthouse, a posh movie theater where viewers can kick back in leather reclining seats, order meals from a full menu and refresh themselves with alcoholic beverages, is opening Friday in Downtown Brooklyn after years of anticipation. It will be the first outpost of the popular theater chain in New York City.
Alamo marks a huge departure from the old days in New York of no-frills, single-screen theaters, where popcorn and a soda passed as amenities.
Alamo, located on the fourth floor of the new City Point complex at 445 Albee Square West, features original Turkish prints lining patterned walls, a wax-museum exhibit and bar downstairs, seven theaters of different sizes with dozens of movies to enjoy, and of course, the option to order food and drink from your recliner.
The Texas-based chain initially had trouble opening a New York City location. In 2013, it scrapped plans for an Upper West Side spot due to high real estate and building costs, said Mike Sampson, Alamo Drafthouse's senior marketing and promotions manager.
It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Tim League, co-owner and founder of the Alamo Drafthouse, had his eyes on Brooklyn. So when the opportunity popped up at City Point, the new residential-retail complex, he grabbed it.
After coping with construction delays and other hurdles, the theater is finally ready, League said.
The new Brooklyn location will be the 25th Alamo Drafthouse in the nation, though it is not the only chain in the dine-in movie game. The concept has become popular, with a competitor, iPic, recently opening theaters in New Jersey and lower Manhattan. Nitehawk Cinema and Syndicated dominate Williamsburg's dine-in theater scene.
But Alamo Drafthouse says the experience it offers is unlike any other.
For starters, all tickets cost the same, whether you dine or not. General admission is $14.50. Everyone holding a ticket will be able to sit in a plush leather chair. Even the dreaded front row is a great seat in the theater — the seats recline to a comfortable position so no one gets a neck cramp.
Another distinct quality of Alamo Drafthouse is the strict "no text, no talk" policy.
"We are aware that New Yorkers like to talk and use their phones, " Sampson said. "But we want to make it an environment for everyone to enjoy the movie."
To help enforce the rule, a manager will be at every screening. Moviegoers can also report others on their order cards. When a waiter or waitress picks up the card, he/she will notify the manager and the person will get a warning.
To show how serious they are, Sampson said one moviegoer was already been kicked out on Monday during a soft opening day.
The Alamo Drafthouse's menu offers a wide selection of bites, from burgers to flatbreads to sweets such as Oddfellows ice cream. On the drink side, there are 96 taps to select from, and all of them are local beers. For those who are not a fan of drafts, there are cocktails and shakes to choose from.
All waiters and waitresses have been trained "the Alamo way" to make sure everyone's theater dining experience is pleasant. Moviegoers can order food at any point, but they are recommended to come early to place an order before the film starts.
The opening weekend leading up to Halloween has a lineup of films to satisfy scary movie-lovers. On Halloween, "The Monster's Squad" and a series of Asian horror films such as "Eternal Evil of Asia," "Human Skin Lanterns," "Love to Kill," and "Seeding of a Ghost" will be screening.
If you're not a fan of horror movies, there are other films to choose from. Every movie shown at Alamo Drafthouse is hand-selected. Sampson is part of that team and said he wants to "really good movies [people can enjoy] and not show junk."
“Blending classics, oddities, blockbusters and new discoveries allows us to further our mission of championing cinema with the widest variety of audiences," League said.
After the luxurious dine-in theater experience, moviegoers can head down to the House of Wax bar where a spooky exhibit awaits. Visitors can enjoy a beer or cocktail while perusing through Victorian-decorated area filled with wax models of human figures and body parts.
For more information, head over to the Alamo Drafthouse website.