For Tim League, CEO and founder of the Alamo Drafthouse, a great movie theater is achieved two ways: "Greatness by beauty and technical presentation – like at the remodeled Chinese Theater in Los Angeles and the Paramount in Oakland." Or by being "a movie theater by movie fans for movie fans."
His theater does both: “I used to be the sole creative force at the Alamo back in the old days," he says of the parking garage-turned-indie theater he and his wife opened in Austin back in 1997. “As we've grown, I've invested heavily in recruiting passionate film nerds to help us continue to strive to be great. My single greatest challenge is to not lose sight of what the Alamo Drafthouse stood for in the beginning."
The number of theaters in the world as dedicated to movie-watching as the Alamo are relatively small. We scoured the globe and came up with theaters that shun texting, revere great film, and will even serve you a cocktail. Here are the top 20 theaters in the world.
Kennedy School Theater (Portland, OR)
This elementary school auditorium-turned-cinema, offers second-run movies and comfy sofas and armchairs for just $4 a film. During the week, the theater even plays up its kid-friendly past with a series of Mommy Matinees, where a crying baby won't offend anyone.
Why It Stands Out: From the schoolhouse-style design to the well-worn (in a good way) furniture, everything about the Kennedy School Theater – which is part of a hotel – is bursting with nostalgia. Except for the part where you can order craft beer.
Credit: Liz Devine / McMenamin’s