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.
Nitehawk Cinema (Brooklyn, NY)
The Nitehawk Cinema, which opened in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2011, takes the idea of “dinner and a movie" to new heights. Moviegoers arrive 30 to 45 minutes ahead of time in order to claim a seat, place a food or cocktail order, and enjoy the “pre-show" (a curated mix of short clips that somehow relate to the main feature). If you want to have another drink – even if seconds before the movie is over – you simply write down your order for a member of the wait staff.
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Why It Stands Out: There are other cinema and restaurant hybrids, of course, but not all of them are as equally dedicated to both the movie and food menus. And the themed food and drink specials, which cater to each week's new lineup, help bring both concepts together in a more fluid – and fun – way.