So you’re telling me that local craft beer and gourmet comfort food are going to be served while you watch the best new releases and independent films in a brand-spanking-new theater? Um, why didn’t someone think of this before? As it happens, the folks at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema created this concept more than 15 years ago when they opened a single-screen theater in Austin, Texas. Today, they have more than a dozen brew-friendly theaters nationwide. And — happily — their first New York outpost, a six-screen theater in Yonkers, opened just last month.
Each auditorium is equipped with high-quality Sony 4K digital projection, as well as a state-of-the-art digital audio system. The chairs are lined up in even rows with a long, narrow table set in front of them. During the preshow, a waiter takes your order; during the feature, you can order as often as you like by simply writing down your preferences on a provided piece of paper and placing it in the clip at the front of the table. While all this may sound like it might distract you from the movie, the trained staff has it down to a fairly silent science. But they expect you to remain mum, too. In fact, their already legendary no-talking, no-texting policy is strictly enforced: Two strikes, and you may well be booted right out into the street, without a refund. Of course, every now and again, the Alamo folks turn things upside down by hosting one of their sing-along dance parties.
Then, you’re expected to get up, boogie down, and make as much noise as you like.
Alamo offers about 30 beers on tap; half of those come from local breweries, including the award-winning Captain Lawrence. There is also a large selection of bottled and canned varieties. The menu features signature Alamo favorites — fresh-baked pizza, eight different kinds of burgers, and baked-to-order warm cookies — as well as an array of local specials.
Ease is the name of the game here: Online reserved seating allows you to avoid lines and even ensures that you snag your favorite seat. The theater opens 45 minutes before show time, so you can enjoy appetizers and a drink along with the rotating program of vintage cartoons and shorts. The Alamo is also known for creative programming; they’ll create a special menu, for instance, to coincide with the screening of a particular film. And get this: They never run ads. So does all this cool stuff come with a too-hot-to-handle price tag? Nope. Movie tickets are just $12. No wonder Entertainment Weekly called the Alamo Drafthouse “the best theater in America.” For more information, visit www.drafthouse.com.
It seems local beer events are popping up all over the place these days. The following festivals are both happening on the same day — Saturday, September 21.
The first annual Hudson River Craft Beer Festival, held in Beacon’s Riverfront Park from 12:30 to 5:30p.m., will have more than 30 (mostly) local breweries pouring samples of their best beers. “We wanted to be there because it’s such a beautiful spot,” says Jeremy Intonti of Epic Day, an events company based in Highland. “Also, it’s right next to the Metro-North station, so people can come up from the city. And also because of the great culture in Beacon — it has a lot of character.” Intonti says they chose their food vendors very carefully. “We wanted a really interesting variety,” he says. More than 15 vendors will be serving up everything from ice cream to Thai food to Jamaican to Asian noodles. “We asked everybody to incorporate beer into their food somehow, whether it’s in a marinade or a sauce. Beacon Bagel is bringing their beer-infused pretzels,” he says. Several bands will be rocking throughout the day and other local vendors will be hacking their wares. Tickets are $40 online and $50 at the gate. For more information visit www.hudsonrivercraftbeerfestival.com
Further south in Nanuet, the Lower Hudson Valley Craft Beer Fest, held outside of Growler & Gill Craft Beer Shoppe, will feature beer from more than 40 breweries, including international options from Belgium, Germany, Italy, and more. Each attendee will receive a souvenir tasting gill and can purchase food prepared by Northern Comfort Catering. (Don’t miss Brewer’s Cow beer-infused ice cream!) Ticket prices vary. For more information visit http://lhvcraftbeerfest.com