Skip to content

Want to receive the BRT Business Resource Collaborative Newsletter?

Sign Up

Raleigh Chamber Foundation has received a grant from the City of Raleigh to engage and support small businesses while construction for a Bus Rapid Transit line occurs along New Bern Avenue. This series of articles will spotlight some businesses along the route.

When The Alamo Drafthouse opened in Raleigh in 2018, it was a bit of a risk. The Independent Theater chain began as a single screen in Austin, Texas, which showed second run films. The owners, Tim and Karrie League, say they just wanted to build somewhere for movie-lovers to go. They struck a chord and the business grew to other markets.

At the time, Raleigh could’ve been seen as a risk. “Tim’s parents retired to Raleigh. He would visit them and realize what a burgeoning art scene was here. He just felt like this was a great spot for one of our theaters and boy was he right,” said Mike Sampson, director for regional marketing. “From the minute we opened our doors, the community has really embraced us and vice versa. We’re just so happy to be here and so happy that there’s a growing crowd of cinephiles that are still eager to go to the movies post pandemic.”

In addition to great, comfortable seating, fantastic screens and impeccable sound, there are amenities you can’t find at other theaters:

  • In-seat ordering off a full menu, which includes everything from standard theater fare to pizza, wings, salad, and avocado toast.
  • A full bar in the lobby with specialty cocktails and draft beer. (All of which can be ordered to your seat as well.)
  • A server that comes to your seat with the push of a subtle button. (No missing plot points to refill that bottomless popcorn bowl!)
  • The Video Vortex: a large collection of VHS tapes for perusal or rental which makes for incredible pre- or post-movie conversation. (Very helpful on a date night… the VHS someone is drawn to will tell you a lot about them!)

While these amenities are outstanding, the most important aspect has been saved for last. At The Alamo, when they say ‘don’t talk or text’ during the movie, they mean it.

“If we catch anybody talking, texting, or using their phone, they get booted. That has been a differentiator for us, I think. Other movie theaters aren’t quite as strict and we get a lot of feedback that other theaters are loud. There’s none of that here,” Sampson said.

The bar and seating area also allows for The Alamo to host events like board game and trivia nights. In short, it’s an excellent place to spend an evening.

Sampson hopes that the completed Wake BRT line will bring even more people to their doors. He said, “I think it’s great to have this opportunity and it will hopefully bring new audiences. If you don’t want to, or can’t drive, or don’t want to deal with parking, you can hop on the line and be there in moments. It’s much easier that way.”

Additionally, Sampson noted that with the bar and events, he appreciates that this line will give a more affordable, safe option to patrons. “We want everybody to be safe, but we also want people to have fun. So if you come to our theater and go to the bar after, this is a safe way to travel back and forth. I love that this is going to be an option for our community to be able to hop on for a smaller fare than compared to the surging prices [of rideshares],” he added.

While they look forward to construction being complete, they are preparing to help their patrons through the construction process. In addition to ensuring their social media is up to date, the theater is considering relaxing the ‘no late admittance’ policy. While they will stay committed to offering the best movie-viewing option for all patrons, they are thinking of several creative ways to accommodate anyone who may get stuck. He said, “We still want to ensure people can see the movie if they fought construction to get there. We will work with people.”

Additionally, The Alamo is excited about community events it will be hosting outside of the theater walls. Sampson is confident that whether through buying gift cards, attending community events, or braving the orange cones, the Raleigh community will remember The Alamo.

He said, “I just want to thank everyone in the Raleigh community for sticking with us. We really feel connected to the people in the community. We really appreciate their dedication to seeing movies on the big screen which, we think, is the absolute best way to do it. So, just a big thank you to the entire arts community in Raleigh.”

Back To Top