I love the movies. But more than that, I love going to the movies: leaning back in a plush chair, watching charismatic people on a big screen in the dark with sound enveloping my senses and the story playing with my emotions. For me, movies matter. So does the movie-going experience.
There are movies that open at certain theaters that I’ll go to…begrudgingly. I think we all have those theaters that we’d prefer not to visit, even if it is the only one nearby playing the movie you want to watch at the time you want to go. We have standards, dang it. There are other things we want, too.
Something about sitting in a dark room for 120 minutes makes me want a drink, and if it’s late enough in the day, some food, too. Also, peace and quiet and a much-needed detachment from the blinding-white light of a too-frequently-checked smartphone.
Seeing a movie is one of the last shared experiences we have left these days. Everyone agrees to sit in the dark, watch the same thing, and not talk or check their cell phones for however long it takes. Or, that’s how it used to be. Not to name names (though I do keep a list), but people who go to the movies today are kinda rude about it, right? They talk, they text, they swipe. That’s why when I saw Alamo Drafthouse’s strict policy honoring proper movie-going etiquette I was in. I support any effort to keep movie theaters dark and quiet! Plus, they sling a mean burger and shake (not stir!) a mean drink.
You probably saw Avengers Endgame this weekend. Everyone did. It set a record for the largest first-week gross of all-time. Suffice it to say, it was a big deal.
I saw it too, not far from DC at the Alamo Drafthouse in the One Loudoun development of Ashburn, for HungryLobbyist (gee, sometimes this job is hard). Sure, you need to dust off your E-Z Pass to make it to your show but there’s many reasons why you should.
For starters, Alamo serves food and drink throughout the show — all you need to do is stick your order card straight up at your table — and its waiters and waitresses are prompt and cheerful. For Avengers, Alamo introduced a super-powered superhero menu fit for a Hulk, a Wasp, or even a Mad Titan.
I went for the Titan Burger, which I can confidently report was excellent and easily eaten although my attention was focused on the big screen; my fiancé went for the Avengers-approved chicken shawarma wrap — also good.
If you haven’t seen it, Endgame is a long movie, clocking in just north of three hours. Luckily, Alamo had a fix for that — the Awake Until the End Game Shake, a healthy blend of coffee, vanilla ice cream, ginger syrup, and Oreo crumbles. If you’re feeling more Tony Stark than Peter Parker, you can get the grown-up version with some Monkey Shoulder malt whisky added in.
Then, because one of us had to drink, I opted for the gamma-radiation free (their joke not mine, but I love it so) Green Whiskey SMASH!, a mix of bourbon, lemon, mint, and sugar. That’ll keep you up. If bourbon’s not your thing, Alamo makes two other Avenger-themed cocktails; the first is a tequila drink inspired by The Wasp; the second is a rum-based ode to T’Challa, the Black Panther.
As a bonus, one of the standout moments from the experience was a series of videos played before the film started that recapped the 21 previous Marvel movies that led up to Endgame. It was hilarious and offered a much-needed refresher for everything that came before. I’ve now been to the Alamo a few times now (once in Kansas City, a few times in Ashburn) and you can definitely tell how much the places cares about movies and your movie-going experience.
Even if you don’t have the chance to check out Endgame at the Alamo Drafthouse, new movies come out each week. If you’re a movie-lover, you have to give the Alamo Drafthouse its close-up.