When we wrote last spring about the Austin-born Alamo Drafthouse chain, which has had an outpost in Winchester, Va., for a couple of years, we knew they’d be opening more Washington area theaters eventually. We just thought it would happen after New York and Los Angeles, where fans have long cried out for the Alamo experience.
Not so. Today the chain announced it will build a 34,000-square-foot complex at One Loudoun, a 358-acre planned community near Dulles Airport. Construction is set to begin in a few months, with the opening projected for spring 2013. Plans call for an eight-screen multiplex, leaving room for plenty of mainstream fare to play alongside special one-off events and screenings of old crowd-pleasers.
The Alamo is a pioneer in the food/drinks/movies biz, setting the standard both for food quality (Austin’s location has poached chefs from celebrated restaurants) and for service, with stealthy wait staff taking and delivering orders without disrupting the movie-watching experience.
Since the chain’s debut in 1997, imitators have popped up in the form of both movie pubs and pricey nightclub-style dens; so far, the Alamo’s brand is the one to beat.
The Alamo treatment — a couple of craft beers, a juicy cheeseburger, a comfortable seat and state-of-the-art projection — would go a long way toward making Michael Bay’s latest blowupathon bearable.