The last time I went down to Houston for an event at the Alamo Drafthouse, it was for the two episode series premiere of Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger. They had signs in the lobby then that they were hiring for the soon to be open LaCenterra location. The theater I went to that day has since closed.
I went to LaCenterra’s Alamo Drafthouse, located in Katy, Texas, about twenty miles west of Houston, for the first time this past Sunday to watch a Spanish-language version of Dracula (1931) and the blaxploitation film Dolemite (1975). And, unless they have a major event I do not want to miss, it may be my last visit.
The theater wasn’t difficult to find, I drove right by it on the freeway & just had to double back a bit, so I had an idea of how to get to it.
Plenty of parking – the LaCenterra shopping center has several parking garages and surface parking. I found a spot right next to the theater without any trouble.
Walking in, there’s a patio for the bar patrons, closed off from the sidewalk so not just anybody can sit there. Booth seating in the lobby, self serve kiosks, and a ticket counter adjacent to the lobby bar itself. The girl at the counter was all smiles & very helpful, I was able to get all three of my tickets and the birthday vouchers from her at once.
The hallway from the lobby goes left to right, with a rear projection screen that, at the time I was there, had the hotel hallway from The Shining with Room 237’s door slightly ajar. Very cool selfie opportunity.
Wifi is available in the lobby & theaters.
I was in Theater 6 for both movies. Aside from the sign for the theater, there wasn’t any other indication of where I was going to be. Alamo Drafthouse theaters in Austin & Dallas both use digital screens to show movie posters & showtimes, and the Alamo Drafthouse in North Richland Hills used chalkboards when they first opened, but that didn’t last long. The boards were still there last time I visited for Spider-Man: Far From Home, but not being used anymore because ya just can’t erase ’em well enough to hide previous titles & showtimes. That was just a bad idea all around.
The hallway and lobby bar have old, floor to ceiling poster recreations of classic Westerns. And even though my dad loved to watch ’em, and I would sit to watch ’em with him, I did not recognize a single title on display, though there were some familiar actors listed on ’em.
Anyway, I got into the theater, and the seating seems to still be a work in progress. Each seat has its own table for dine in food service, and the armrests have cupholders. Certainly an improvement to the Cedars location in downtown Dallas, which had cup holders in the table, making it difficult to get in & out of the seat. The seats are leatherish, and recline back. I was able to raise my feet to a comfortable height, and there was still room for the server to get through.
For the first movie, I had two five dollar meal vouchers, and used one of my birthday coupons for a soft drink, in this case Cherry Coke since Dr Pepper wasn’t an option. Mr. Pibb can go to hell. When it came time to pay the check, I used the vouchers, cash & a couple of dimes. My server did not bring back the proper amount of change, but it worked out in my favor, so I won’t complain. Instead, I just left the excess as a tip at the end of the movie.
I took what was left of the Cherry Coke with me to the bar to watch the Astros vs Nationals World Series game between Dracula & Dolemite. Even though Cherry Coke is a menu option, it was not available at the bar to get a refill while I waited. I was offered “Coke and Promegranite”, which the bartender said was “basically the same thing” but I turned it down because that did not sound right to me at all.
I went back into Theater 6 for Dolemite, which was my free birthday movie ticket, and used the birthday coupon for my free popcorn. I also tried to get a refill on the Cherry Coke, and found out that I would have to pay for a new drink since they don’t offer refills across multiple movies. What the hell?!? I’ve gotten it before, though it may have helped that I had worked with & knew folks at other Alamo Drafthouse locations in Austin & Dallas. He tried offering me a free water, instead, but I told him I would go ahead & pay for another Cherry Coke.
I like that both movies had customized preshows, that doesn’t always happen with one time screenings. The program director was on point in both of his introductions. And there was good service in the theater. Comfortable seating, with improvements from other locations that have been opening the last few years.
After the second movie, I was able to watch the Houston Astros win, since the game was still on at the bar, before leaving the theater.
But I didn’t like that I couldn’t get a soft drink at the bar, or that it couldn’t be refilled at a second seating on the same day. The menu says its bottomless. I didn’t want to argue, but I was annoyed. The fried pickles were good, as was the fried egg BLT, but the popcorn wasn’t that great.
Aside from The Shining on the hallway screen, there wasn’t anything particularly special about this Alamo Drafthouse, a common disappointment in newer locations. South Lamar has a WWI era alien invasion. Slaughter has monster plants. Richardson has a giant robot hand!
So, yeah, just being at an Alamo Drafthouse is better than any other theater around, but I think I’ll stick with road trips to D/FW or Austin, unless there’s just something in Houston I can’t miss.