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Food, drink and … movies?

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Alamo Draft House aims to change the way you watch the silver screen

By Chris Ferguson

The Alamo Draft House is building an 800-seat theater facility in the Aspen Grove shopping center that the company hopes will change the way you see movies. For those who may be yawning at the notion of yet another movie theater in the area, read on.

The company, which opened in 1997 in Austin, Texas, bills itself as something more than the average cineplex.

“We are a ‘first-run’ movie theater, meaning we get the blockbusters,” said Nick Vega, general manager for Alamo at Aspen Grove. “But also we are a bar and we are a restaurant.”

When a visitor enters Alamo, he or she will be greeted by more than popcorn and Milk Duds. Alamo offers an extensive bar with 30 beer taps, serving local brews and 50 to 60 types of liquor. The facility will also offer an expansive menu designed by an executive chef. Menu items will use locally sourced ingredients, and will also include vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Once movie fans enter their respective theaters, they will find traditional row seating with a narrow table that runs the length of the row, allowing viewers to enjoy their food and drink during their film. According to Vega, ticket prices will be competitive with other area movie theaters, and food will be priced about the same as other restaurants in Aspen Grove.

Vega said the current plan is to have one large theater called “the big house,” seating 250 people, and several smaller theaters, seating roughly 65. The business may employ up to 250 people at any one time and will tentatively open in March, he said.

For those who avoid theaters to avoid talkative patrons, rest assured. Alamo has a strict no-talking or texting policy. If an employee or manager witnesses someone talking, or if another customer complains about chattering, that customer will receive one warning to cease and desist. Any other infractions will result in the patron being asked to leave without a refund. This policy became an Internet sensation several years ago when the company used a voice-mail from an irate customer who was asked to leave an Alamo location. In the ribald voice-mail, the disgruntled patron complains how unfair it was that she was thrown out. To get the point across, Alamo now uses the call as a public service announcement before each film.

“We ask you to leave, politely but assertively,” said Vega. “It preserves the movie-watching experience.”

Vega said the reason the company is so strict is because each location prides itself on state-of-the-art projection and sound. Each theater will be outfitted with Sony 4K and 35mm projectors and Dolby Digital surround.

“It’s the best presentation around — the audio, the temperature of the theater to the quality of movies we offer,” he said. “We don’t allow just any movie to come to the Alamo; we offer the best of the best.”

The chain prides itself on selecting films that movie buffs clamor to see.

Lest the uninitiated envision the Alamo experience as being stodgy, Alamo offers several interactive events at each location. Events include sing-alongs to quote-alongs, where moviegoers are — finally — encouraged to open their mouths. Popular titles include “The Princess Bride” and “The Big Lebowsky.” Other events include “Action Pack,” which includes live pyrotechnics, and “Big Screen Classic,” showing titles like “Gone With the Wind.” Thursdays are dedicated to cult classics. Other periodic events include “The Feast,” when film-goers can enjoy themed multi-course meals or drinks that arrive to fit notable moments in each film, and the “Rolling Roadshow,” which is a mobile 60-foot screen that offers free films.

Each of the screens will be available to rent for private and public events. Vega said the theater will also take suggestions for potential showings of classic or fan-favorite films.

As for choosing Littleton over rumored locations such as New York City and Los Angeles, Vega said the company goes where it feels there is a sustainable and welcoming community.

“Littleton, for us, makes sense. What we have there is culture that will sustain us”

Chris Ferguson is a news editor for Evergreen Newspapers. Send comments or story ideas to chris@evergreenco.com.

For more information …

To learn more about the Alamo Draft House, visit http://drafthouse.com. The Courier will give updates as more information about a scheduled opening date or hiring information becomes available.