I Got a Personal Tour of the New Alamo Drafthouse in DTLA


Since the messy demise of a certain local arthouse theater on Fairfax a few years ago, I’ve been kind of aimless and missing great movies and the movie-loving friends I was congregating with on an almost weekly basis.

Let’s be clear: one of the main reasons I moved to Los Angeles was because, while I’m not a movie expert, I do love movies and being around cinephiles. I’m a music freak and movie geeks are like our cool next door neighbor where you can chill out on their couch, shoot the shit and get your mind blown.

Alamo Drafthouse LA at The Bloc

Thankfully—FINALLY—after years of waiting (kinda inconceivable in this supposed cinema town) there’s a worthy successor: Alamo Drafthouse LA.

Alamo opened last night in The Bloc in DTLA, which is billed as the “largest indoor space on the West Coast.” The Bloc may be doing a bit of creative math there but the complex on 7th and Flower is impressive nonetheless. They also have robots.

security robot at The Bloc in DTLA

Bow to your robot overlords…that look like mobile butt plugs

Alamo has 12 brand new screens that they built out from an empty shell. They are putting LA people to work too. 150 of us to be exact. All dressed in black and scurrying behind the scenes to bring delectable food and drinks to each moviegoer at their seat. This ain’t no AMC—this is premium shit!

Alamo Drafthouse LA bar

Our tour of Alamo’s inaugural night was conducted by the one-and-only Bret Berg.

Bret’s been my best friend since he played in Anavan at the old Il Corral. He also de-bassed Rib Bib and Cockwind (the gay Hawkwind cover band with yours truly on vocals).

More recently Bret’s been heading sales for Alamo-adjacent company AGFA (currently screening some dope films at The Hammer) and hosting superb Voyager Institute events like the Woodstock ’99 gathering of the thuggalos last week.

Bret Berg Alamo Drafthouse LA

The incredible, edible Egg City Radio host & programmer extraordinaire, Bret Berg

Berg is a quality guy and he gave us exclusive access to Alamo. (I paid for my own tickets and food, though, so this is a semi-unbiased review of the joint.)

Alamo immediately wows with a gorgeous entry way with cute collectibles and some sweet t-shirts for sale.

Video Vortex at Alamo Drafthouse LA

This is the Alamo beer garden & alternative show space…very promising!

There’s a lounge called “VIDEO VORTEX” that seems like a promising space for all kinds of off the wall events (hint hint….coming soon).

There’s a bar and, get this movie fans, a FREE VIDEO RENTAL STORE. What the what?! Yes—it’s true.

Video Vortex at Alamo Drafthouse LA

You can see Bret Berg’s influence in the little touches like the Vidiots merch in the Alamo gift shop.

Vidiots was one of the very first places I went when I moved to LA in 2002 and, at the time, I couldn’t believe the video selection they had. Their logo is the most ’80s ever! Take that, Stranger Things.

Vidiots Santa Monica at Alamo Drafthouse

Classic Vidiots Santa Monica video store merch—cool!

Alamo Drafthouse LA is a veritable labyrinth of screening rooms and passageways—all lined with an incredible array of authentic movie posters form all over the world.

All posters come from majordomo Tim League’s collection. Time seems like a cool guy. But he’s got the twins from The Shining standing in a pool of REAL Jell-o. Sick! I wonder how long that will last?

Shining twins at Alamo Drafthouse LA

The Shining twins standing in real Jell-o ewww

Anyhow after the tour my fiancé Ryan and I got to be the first-ever attendees of the first-ever screening at Alamo Drafthouse LA. Which means we got to recline in seats that had never been farted or slopped in by anyone but us. Whee!

Screening room at Alamo DTLA

The movie we saw was The Lion King and there was cat-themed pre-show entertainment which was, dare I say, better than the film. Apparently the custom pre-show is part of the Alamo experience and is a good reason to show up early. I’m an editor, I like weird video—and I’m not easy to impress. They did a really good job here. A++

Alamo pre-show entertainment

At Alamo, pre-show entertainment is sliced and diced for each event

Alamo food was yummy and unobtrusively and expertly delivered.

Sidenote: has anyone watched the trailer for the new, all-CGI Cats? Good god! It’s the creepiest scariest thing I’ve ever seen and has potential to be a future kitsch classic.

Judi Dench in Cats

Hairball time!

“Adult playground” gets thrown around a lot but this is it for me and I can’t wait to see what kind of special programing happens. In the meantime I’ll be hanging out watching old movies at Alamo Drafthouse LA.

Alamo Drafthouse LA is fun

Alamo is hosting special “staff training” screenings all weekend w/ half price food & more

Join their Victory club and get advance sales & other goodies

Connect with Voyager Institute there’s a lot you’ll love coming soon

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