Enjoy a Movie at the Original Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Austin, Which Kicks Out Rude Patrons

I mentioned the Alamo Theater in the very first post on this site, which spotlighted several cool hipster places across the U.S.

This Austin cinema opened in 1997 and has already become a landmark and a mecca of sorts for those who can’t stand talking in theaters.

It has since expanded to many different cities. Here’s the lowdown on the original Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – which is no longer in business – and its many new locations.

How the Austin Alamo Theater deals with rude customers

The Alamo has a long-standing policy of not allowing kids under 18 without a guardian – for any movie – and not allowing talking and texting during screenings.

The aim is to minimize disruptions that can take away from viewers’ enjoyment of the film.

This policy earned national attention earlier this year, when a patron who had been kicked out left a nasty message on the theater’s voicemail. The theater posted the message in a YouTube video that mocked the complainer. How awesome is that?

Everyone from CNN to The View weighed in on the controversy, with most agreeing that booting out troublemakers in theaters is the way to go. From the venue’s website:

When we adopted our strict no talking policy back in 1997 we knew we were going to alienate some of our patrons. That was the plan. If you can’t change your behavior and be quiet (or unilluminated) during a movie, then we don’t want you at our venue. Follow our rules, or get the hell out and don’t come back until you can.”

Alamo Theater Cinema in Austin

Austin Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Details

As its name implies, the Drafthouse Cinema serves beer and food. There’s spacious seating with tables in every row so you can dine and enjoy yourself while you view.

The coolest thing about the Alamo is that they don’t make you sit through previews for upcoming movies. Instead, they give you several minutes of customized content, which may include original animation or clips from old movies or tv shows.

When I went to see Star Trek there a few years back, the preshow content included Star Trek parody sketches from late-night shows.

The preshow is a brilliant idea that only a small, non-national theater could come up with. You don’t see that sort of thing at the big chains!

The food is really good at Alamo, and it’s creative as well. The chefs sometime create special menus for specific films.

For Kumail Nanjiani’s The Big Sick, they created an all-Pakistani menu. For The Bob’s Burgers Movie, they created an extensive burger menu.

FAQs About the Theater

Where is the original Alamo Drafthouse?

The original one-screen drafthouse was located in downtown Austin at 409 Colorado Street, but it has been demolished.

There are now five other Austin Alamo Drafthouse locations: Village, South Lamar, Slaughter Lane, Lakeline, and Mueller.

Is there assigned seating at Alamo Drafthouse?

Yes! When you buy your tickets, you’ll select the precise seats you want. Most seats are regular “recliner” seats, but some of their theaters have “shared sofas” in the back of the theater that can fit two people.

The shared sofa is a cool idea. Movie theaters usually aren’t supposed to be that comfortable!

How much do tickets cost at Alamo Drafthouse in Austin?

Prices may vary by location. As of this writing, regular recliner seats are $14.50 each. The shared sofa for two people costs $31 total, so it’s more expensive than two regular seats, but it may be worth paying extra to have the option to cuddle with your significant other.

How many seats are in each theater?

The Drafthouse Cinema sizes can vary by location, but most have 10 rows with 20 seats per row. So that’s about 200 seats per theater.

The actual number may be slightly less, because some rows with wheelchair-accessible seating have fewer than 20 seats.

Some locations have fewer seats – the Slaughter Lane location, for instance, has about 80 seats in some theaters. You can see how many seats are in your theater when you book online.

The Expanding List of Alamo Drafthouse Locations

Note that when this article was first published, there were 10 Alamo locations around the country, and they were growing.

Now, as of 2024, there are 27(!) Alamo Drafthouses. Though many are in Texas, they’ve branched out as far as Los Angeles, Omaha, Boston, Denver, Raleigh, and New York City.

For my money, the original Austin location is still the one to visit! And for another quirky experience while you’re in the city, go bat viewing in Austin at the Congress Avenue Bridge.

For more Austin fun, see a list of Austin outdoor activities, and see an extensive list of offbeat and unique activities that give Austin the slogan “Keep Austin Weird,” such as the downtown Museum of the Weird.

And see our road trip guide for driving from Austin to Los Angeles.