Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Motel Management Recommends - Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Lakeline

(all photos borrowed from the Alamo Drafthouse Facebook Page, taken by Nick Simonite)

Well, it was a bit of a sad thing for me to hear that we'd be losing Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek this summer, its place being taken by Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline, a theater that is near the former location, but not quite as ideally located. I still have mixed feelings on the subject. I have only been in Austin (Texas, of course) for 2 or 3 years now (it's a bit hazy, because at first I had to do a lot of back and forth traveling due to my parents both being diagnosed with cancer at the same time, just as I was trying to relocate). Yeah, my comic strip wasn't originally set in Austin, but in some nonspecific Texas location.

Anyway, if you aren't aware, Alamo Drafthouse is this line of movie theaters that started in Austin and is most notable for 3 reasons: They'll warn you once, then kick you out if you talk or use a cell phone or something after the movie starts; they have awesome clip shows before and relating to the feature film you're about to see as you wait for it to begin; and finally and most importantly, you can order up dinner right there, and I don't know about much of the other stuff, but the pizza is awesome! The Porky's Pepperoni is great, but I eventually got hooked on the meatlover's pizza they have, which is called the Carnivore. It used to be called the Raging Bull until very recently, when there was a slight change to the toppings. Hard to say which version I prefer. They've added one or two meats, but one is salami, which I'm not a fan of and probably prefer the Canadian bacon that is no longer included... It's also gone up two bucks in price. *grumble* Anyway, what really makes the pizza extra good is that you can ask for parmesan cheese to put on it (free with a pizza order), and it is so fresh that it's incredible. I always ask for two. Add a coke or root beer to your order and you've got a heck of a meal. The pizzas are perfect for one person with a good appetite. I started dating a certain girl shortly after coming to Austin (I'll shamelessly add that I miss her A LOT, but I was the only one really on board, I guess), and at first we would split a pizza, but eventually (tiny as she was), we were each getting our own. Enough playing dainty for each other, ha. Yeah, I am pretty hooked on going to the Drafthouse a few times a month, if at all possible, for a great movie and their incredible pizza. It ain't cheap though. Just going by myself runs a bit over 30 bucks for a regular priced movie after tip, and while some of their events are cheaper (as is going before 6pm), many events can run much more. Then, if you should happen to want a milshake, there's another 5 or 6 bucks or so. But, there milkshakes are damn good too. I particularly love the chocolate chip cookie shake. All in all, it's worth it. I mean, when you're a movie nut and a foodie like me. It's pretty much my favorite thing about Austin, though I do need to explore this city a lot more. It's just that I still don't know a single soul and all my Drafthouse visits leave me broke, ha.

But, I'm supposed to be talking about the new location here, and maybe a bit more on the loss of the Lake Creek one. The Alamo has several locations in Austin now, and they seem to be adding more all the time. I haven't seen any as amazing looking as the one that never got finished in McAllen, TX, where I moved from. That place was huge and epic in scale, but the building has been sitting there unfinished for years. I heard it was an issue about being too near to a religious establishment or something, the alcohol serving being an issue for them. With beams exposed all that time, if they do decide to finally finish it (as I've heard rumor of), I'm not sure how safe that building's going to be. But, that's 5 hours away and totally off topic. The latest Drafthouses here in Austin still are pretty nice looking, especially inside. 

(all photos borrowed from the Alamo Drafthouse Facebook Page, taken by Nick Simonite)

As you can see from these photos I borrowed off the Drafthouse's Facebook page, the lobby has the now customary tavern to the right of the entrance, then there's the ticket stand, and something very special facing directly at you as you walk in, but more on that later. It's lovely inside, but there's something missing that I loved about the Lake Creek location. Besides the very cool looking bar facing you as you walk in, there was an area with some cushy couches and seats to kick back in while you wait if you happened to arrive before seating. It was a really nice, casual atmosphere where you could linger with other movie fans, even if you're like me and don't really talk to strangers. It was also nice for just ogling all the beautiful ladies who either worked there or were there to see a show (even if most of those were there with dates... *grumble*, I do miss having a date, even if I really couldn't afford it). In the new Lakeline theater, right across from that ticket booth in the photo above is a couch/bench thing that runs along the wall. It's a definite downgrade, in my opinion, from Lake Creek's cool lobby with the couches in the center. But, there's still this... 

(all photos borrowed from the Alamo Drafthouse Facebook Page, taken by Nick Simonite)

Yes, that's a statue of the lawgiver from the original Planet of the Apes. And, yes, it's actual size. In fact, it was cast from the original! The one used in the Charlton Heston film! That's right! And you can't really tell in this photo, but it actually towers over you. I mean, this is the real deal, and it is glorious! Oh, to have this in my den! Or at least one of Bobo from MST3K. Maybe I can just start calling this one Bobo. Anyway, yeah, this is your highlight of the new Drafthouse theater! This is what makes it all worthwhile! In fact, the whole lobby is decorated with various Planet of the Apes film posters! Now, I'm a nut for those movies, so.. that's really freakin' awesome! I still miss aspects of the Lake Creek Drafthouse A LOT (I really LOVED the lobby couches and the general location), but this really does make me LOVE Lakeline.

Of course, this place was designed to be a Drafthouse, so aspects of the seating are better. Mainly the stadium style. On the other hand... there is a new trend at Drafthouses that is really... maybe not the great idea they think it is, and that's the new style of tables. The older Drafthouse theaters have a table in front of you like a long bar (with occasional gaps). It's sort of like eating at Medieval Times. And, honestly, I liked it. The new Drafthouses have dating in mind, and so a small table is given to be shared by every two seats. Now, granted, a lot of people go to the Drafthouse on dates or at least in pairs. Maybe most. But... not ALL. You still have a lot of people going alone or in odd numbered groups. While these new tables make it easier for everyone to get up and go to the bathroom if they are so inclined (I personally won't do that during a movie unless it's an emergency), they also are barely big enough for two people's meal orders, and more importantly, they can make for some very awkward situations in which you are forced to share a table with a stranger. When I went to see The Wolverine recently, I felt like I was on a date with an 11 year old boy. And that's just not my thing, man. So, seriously, overall, I have to give these 2 person tables a thumbs down. But, they seem to be the new thing, and I guess I'm going to have to get used to them.

When I was living in South Austin, I felt closer to the city and more able to frequent the downtown, 6th St. location. I do miss that, though right now I'm probably not much further away than I was then, if at all, having recently relocated to N. Mopac near the Domain. But, over the past year, somehow I ended up living in Cedar Park, and that was just too far away. Luckily, the Lake Creek Drafthouse was right nearby, and that's how I got pretty attached to it. I'm much closer to the Village location now, but while I love the seating situation there, it's not the most appealing building and definitely should be the next one to get replaced. Until it closed, I was still mostly going to Lake Creek. Still haven't gotten back in the swing of hitting the Ritz downtown again (or going downtown at all). I really miss Terror Tuesdays. I need to get back there for that! I miss South Lamar too. Slaughter is great, though with the same issues as Lakeline, but even though it's on my street, it's quite a drive. Lakeline is no short distance either. In fact, it's a tad farther for me than Lake Creek was. If I was still living in Cedar Park though, it'd be a sweet deal! However, I'm sure I'm going to make my way there often in the coming months, if only to say hi to Bobo before catching the newest popcorn flick with a Carnivore, 2 parmesan's, a root beer, and if I'm feeling bold enough, a chocolate chip cookie shake. I recommend any local movie lovers do the same if you're fairly nearby. If the other locations are closer to you, it's still worth checking out once for that great statue at least! And, as we all know, sometimes there's a really cool screening that is only showing at one Drafthouse or another. Don Bluth is going to be screen his films this week! Don Bluth live! Wish I wasn't broke from going to the Drafthouse LAST weekend, ha. Well, whaddya want from me? You know I don't make a dime off this website yet, and my day job only brings in a cool 250 bucks a week.

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