The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema was founded by Tim and Karrie League at
409 Colorado St, in an Austin, Texas warehouse-district building that
was being used as a parking garage. The company began as a second-run
movie theater, and distinguished itself by the food and drink service
offered inside the theater, including cold beers. The seating is
arranged with rows of cabaret style tables in front of each row of
seats, with an aisle between each row to accommodate waiter service.
Customers write their orders on slips of paper, which are picked up by
black-clad waiters moving quietly between the rows. Soon after
opening, the original downtown theater began offering occasional
unique programming such as silent movies scored by local bands playing
live accompaniment, food-themed films such as Like Water for Chocolate
served with a dinner matching the meals shown on screen, and
retrospectives of various directors and stars.
In 2001, the Leagues renovated a four-screen art-house theater at 2700 Anderson Lane in North Austin which had recently closed, and opened it as an Alamo Drafthouse which specialized in first-run movies. With this new Alamo Drafthouse Village, the downtown location ceased showing second-run movies and began to concentrate almost exclusively on unusual programming including classics, cult classics, independents, documentaries, special guest appearances, and audience participation shows.
In 2003, the Alamo Drafthouse, under the direction of new CEO Terrell Braly, moved even further north, to 13729 Research Blvd in far northwest Austin. The Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek has seven screens, all dedicated to new movies. Almost simultaneously, the Alamo granted their first franchise, which opened in the West Oaks Mall in Houston, Texas
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