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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Alamo Drafthouse opens first Tarrant Co. location in North Richland Hills

Alamo Drafthouse North Richland Hills

8380 Davis Blvd.

North Richland Hills



As the first Alamo Drafthouse in Tarrant County, execs say it will stay true to its quirky brand of experiential movie-going, which combines costumed characters, food and beverage and other kitschy opportunities for audience engagement customized to individual films.

But since the North Richland Hills location is in a largely residential area, the venue has some family-oriented features not found in some of the more urban locations. The location will be the largest of the six in North Texas and the only one with a party room for birthday celebrations and a dog-friendly outdoor patio and play area.

The extras were added in anticipation of attracting crowds from Fort Worth, Arlington and beyond to the Alamo brand, said Bryan Penley, president of Alamo Drafthouse North Texas.

“Tarrant County is a new market for us and we are excited to be here and to introduce our brand to new audiences,” Penley said.

Bill C. DiGaetano, owner and chief operating officer of Alamo Drafthouse North Texas, has been anticipating the opening of the North Richland Hills located for about seven years. He and his relatives bought the franchise rights to Austin-based Alamo and have been opening new Alamo theaters since 2013. He owns all six of the chain’s DFW locations and also the one Minnesota location. This one, however, is a little special.

“I’m very happy with it personally,” DiGaetano said. “It’s five minutes from my house so selfishly, I’m happy to have it here as my neighborhood theater.”

As a private company, Alamo does not disclose financial information. DiGaetano said about “$20 million is spent on each of these projects,” including staff.

The architect for the North Richland Hills site was Hodges Architecture of Dallas and the general contractor was Bailey Construction of Little Rock.

Like all of Alamo’s cinemas, the one in North Richland Hills combines modern and retro elements and has its own theme. The theme of this locale is Disney.

Lining the walls are vintage movie posters spanning the decades of Disney films, from the early cartoons classics such as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp to enduring favorites such The Parent Trap, Old Yeller and Son of Flubber.

In addition, there are prints of Tom Whalen’s Disney Mondo illustrations of Mickey Mouse, the Lion King and Peter Pan.

This Alamo location has eight auditoriums with seating for 927 people. The largest seats 240 and two “micro-theaters” each seat 47. The small theaters are intended to be rented for private film screenings for parties as well as screenings of artistic, small budget and locally produced films.

Every seat in every auditorium is a reclining lounger, which is also unique to the North Richland Hills theater.

Full food and beverage service is available in every theater as well as in the sports bar/restaurant area. From scratch items include burger buns, salad dressing, pizza dough and sauces.

The Vetted Well restaurant/bar is available to movie-goers as well as the public. A separate entrance allows access and nine big-screen TVs will broadcast continuous sports and events such as trivia night and live music.

The bar will have 31 craft beers on tap, including 20 from North Texas brewers. Cocktails made with spirits from local distilleries and craft root beer will also be available.

The space will also be available for rent for private parties such as wedding showers and rehearsal dinners.

“We see this as a neighborhood bar where people can come and hang out,” said Jeff Bucy, general manager of the North Richland Hills Alamo. “People can bring their dogs and kids and everyone can enjoy themselves.”

A fenced-in grassy area will be available for children to play outdoors and will also double as a staging area for special events, including an Arabian-style bazaar in conjunction with the release of Disney’s Aladdin in May.

Alamo opened to the public April 25 with showings of Avengers: Endgame, Dumbo, Shazam and Breakthrough.

In keeping with the family-friendly focus of the North Richland Hills location, “Alamo for All,” formerly known as “baby day,” will be offered before 2 p.m. every day for parents and young children.

Summer activities will include kid-friendly films for donation of $1-$3 that benefit a local charity.

The theater at 8320 Davis Blvd. will offer a 25 percent discount on food and non-alcoholic drinks from April 25 to May 2. From May 3-9, the discount will be 10 percent.


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