Fantastic Fest 2013

Fantastic Fest 2013: The Scoop on Alamo Lakeline

Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline Ribbon-Cutting

By Jette Kernion

"I would just like to apologize in advance to all visiting @fantasticarcade guests for North Austin. Yeeech."

--Wiley Wiggins

I may or may not have retweeted the above sentiment, but I want to start by saying It's Not That Bad. Really. Read Debbie's excellent guide to North Austin dining options and you'll see a lot of diverse local choices -- it's not all Applebee's and Panera. Besides, there's something to be said for having 24-hour Denny's and IHOP near a film-festival venue, am I right?

Let me back up here for those new to Fantastic Fest or even to North Austin. Since it started in 2005, Fantastic Fest has been primarily a one-location film festival, and that location has been Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, a fine theater that is close to downtown and in a funky South Austin neighborhood itself.

Alamo Drafthouse -- Lakeline

14028 N US Highway 183, Bldg F, Austin, TX 78717
(512) 861-7070

Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline Ribbon-Cutting

The Lakeline location is the newest and biggest Alamo Drafthouse in the Austin area, with 10 screens. The general consensus is that the theater layout, features and quality are very similar to the Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter location. Like Slaughter, the tables are to one side of each seat, and you share with a neighbor.

The design theme for this theater is Planet of the Apes. Lakeline has a small adjoining bar, Glass Half Full, with indoor and outdoor seating (and the patio has fan misters).

Pros: Lakeline is a brand-new theater with ample parking. As with Slaughter, the seating is designed so the front row is still a pleasant viewing experience. The servers are a step below each seat, so they won't get in your line of sight. The stairways are wider than other Drafthouse locations, making it easier to get in and out.

Cons: The servers are a step below each seat, which means you need to be careful when getting in and out of your seat (especially in the dark -- especially if you've been enjoying the Drafthouse alcoholic beverages). Rush-hour traffic up 183 North can be nasty and often lasts until after 7 pm.

Most Drafthouse screenings now have reserved seating. I'll leave it to you to decide whether this is a pro or a con.

Screens and capacity:  The capacity of each screen (including wheelchair-friendly seating), plus special features:

  • Theater 1 -- 34 seats
  • Theater 2 -- 44 seats (set up for RealD 3D)
  • Theater 3 -- 118 seats (set up for 35 mm)
  • Theater 4 -- 140 seats
  • Theater 5 -- 136 seats (set up for RealD 3D)
  • Theater 6 -- 136 seats
  • Theater 7 -- 142 seats
  • Theater 8 -- 118 seats
  • Theater 9 -- 44 seats
  • Theater 10 -- 34 seats

All screens are set up for Sony 4K digital projection.

Parking: The parking lot is huge -- no worries here.

Distance: Lakeline is far enough north that we can debate whether it's in Austin or Cedar Park. (I'm not going to get out all the maps again and make an official ruling right now, though.) It's a good 30-minute drive downtown. Public transportation is available in the area but isn't easy to work with if you're not a Cap Metro veteran. It is not a bike-friendly or even pedestrian-friendly part of town.

On-site food and beverages: Alamo Lakeline offers a full menu for lunch and dinner, including an extensive beer menu (32 beers on tap) and full bar with specialty cocktails at Glass Half Full. The menu is slightly different from other Drafthouse venues in Austin. Brunch is available on weekends through early afternoon.

Nearby dining options: Please read Debbie's excellent "Fantastic Fest 2013: North Austin Cuisine and Libations" guide for an in-depth look at what's available in the area.

Wireless/reception: No word yet on whether Lakeline has wireless access. We've heard the cell phone reception up there is poor for some carriers -- more info as Fantastic Fest progresses.

[Photo credit: "Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline Ribbon-Cutting" by Jack Plunkett, used with permission from Alamo Drafthouse.]

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