Since its origins as a converted parking garage, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema has ushered film-lovers of all breeds into its auditoriums, even gaining a following among Hollywood legends; Quentin Tarantino has been known to host five-day movie marathons at Alamo. The theater has earned that reputation by making moviegoing a personal experience, from the menu of handcrafted snacks and locally brewed beer to the completely ad-free presentations before shows. Alamo?s ninja servers pick up written food and drink orders throughout the movie and serve moviegoers directly at their seat. The staff enforces a strict no-talking, no-texting policy by kicking out any offenders, falling just short of yanking them from their seats with a giant's shepherd's crook.
Both first-run blockbusters and classics are projected onto Alamo's silver screens in crisp 35-millimeter or digital format. Meanwhile, surround speakers immerse audiences in the cinematic soundscape, whether they're seated in one of the expansive theaters afforded to blockbuster reels or the more intimate spaces reserved for indie films wound around tiny bobbins. Despite Alamo's vow of silence, fan-centric Quote-Along and Sing-Along nights encourage guests to shout their favorite lines, and actors, directors, and other celebrities often attend special screenings to lead in-depth discussions. These exclusive events have led to acclaim for Alamo from publications such as Entertainment Weekly, which called it ?one of America's most fanatically unique moviegoing experiences,? and Wired, which opined that it "might just be the coolest movie theater in the world."
There are two sizes at A-OK Chinese: big and bigger. These generous helpings of American-style Chinese food include mushroom-goat-cheese rangoons and chicken-fried pork buns on the big side, and spicy lo mein and five-spice ribs on the bigger side. Along with an assortment of daily specials, A-OK also treats guests to a full wine and beer list, which spotlights local craft brews and full bottles of red, white, and sparkling vino. You can even take some of it to go in their space-age-looking growlers which are insulated bags, making them safe to carry home or juggle without fear of breaking.
Austin Java incorporates fresh, local ingredients into its menu whenever possible, serving only cage- and hormone-free eggs and organic, fair-trade coffee, prepared locally using a low-emission, biofuel-powered roaster. Sample the community-minded cuisine by diving fork-first into breakfast (served all day), lunch, and dinner. The Caesar Chavez salad, a highly organized concoction of romaine lettuce, leads croutons and parmesan cheese on a victory march to your mouth ($5.99), while vegetarian-friendly options such as the confetti pasta ($8.99) and the spicy African peanut soup ($3.99 for a cup, $4.99 for a bowl) keep hungry herbivoyeurs in check. Build your own burger ($7.79, with additional ingredients $0.59–$0.99 each), or decode the DaVinci chicken sandwich, topped with marinara, parmesan ($8.29), and the blueprint for a flying machine. Austin Java also offers all-day breakfast, with options such as omelettes ($7.29–$8.99), eggs benedicts ($7.79–$7.99), and build-your-own-breakfast tacos ($1.99 with three ingredients; $0.69 for each additional item) pleasing palates. The Barton Springs location also boasts a new full bar, allowing for savory sips of brews and booze between burger or breakfast taco bites.
Just off of South Lamar on Barton Springs, Uncle Billy’s specializes in two things: beers and barbecue. To the left of the entrance, the bar’s glasses hang from the ceiling like stalactites, and a ledge of cans showcases the different types of beer available. Meanwhile, a blackboard lists the guest beers of the day, and in case all of that didn’t give things away, a giant red arrow proudly displaying “Drink Local” rests behind the bar. Real Ale Brewery is housed here, and through a glass window in the back of the restaurant, diners can see the fermenting tanks in action. Outside, guests can savor brisket, pork and other meats while enjoying live music in the patio area, while indoor guests can catch a game on the one of the many TVs throughout the establishment.
Tired of simply dressing up her rooms, designer Kerry White needed a way to engage clients on a deeper sensory level. Adopting the motto of “wine, art, and song”, she opened House Wine to match her eye for interiors with the refined tastes of vintages and the lilting sound of live, local music. Sporting both an earth-toned dining area and sun-dappled outdoor lounge replete with cushy, white couches, the wine bar leaves plenty of space for guests to explore an extensive wine list, sample cheese plates, and clasp handheld bites of pineapple-cinnamon empanadillas. Bards from across Austin fill the space with tuneful sounds, and local artists bring life to walls with their paintings of abstract landscapes or other, more beautiful walls.
Although the chef at Flour and Vine Restaurant and Wine Bar draws from a pantry filled with simple, farm-fresh ingredients, the dishes are anything but simple. The restaurant puts an inventive spin on even the most traditional entrees, sweetening their pork chops with apple pomegranate chutney and folding seasoned crayfish and four different types of cheeses into their macaroni and cheese. Staying true to the restaurant’s overall focus on quality and sustainability, the resident sommelier compliments the kitchen’s unique, handcrafted offerings with a wine list that features organic and local selections from different regions.