Downtown Alamo Drafthouse Opens Friday

The first floor of the Alamo Drafthouse includes a full bar, arcade and a DVD rental store.

One of the biggest recent additions to Downtown this year is the Alamo Drafthouse. The two-story space opened at The Bloc shopping center in August. Along with its 12 theaters, the venue offers its Video Vortex bar and arcade on the lower floor. Aside from first-run blockbusters and independent films, the Alamo Drafthouse is known for special “movie parties” themed around certain screenings and special events. That includes holiday events.

Los Angeles Downtown News spoke with Claire Brooks, who oversees private and corporate events for the cinema chain, about what companies can do for their holiday parties at the Downtown cinema.

Los Angeles Downtown News: We’re approaching the holiday season. Do you still have open days for people to book parties?

Claire Brooks: Absolutely, there’s still availability in the Video Vortex and inside the theaters. We have 12 theaters in the upstairs level, so we’ve got screens people can book. With our Video Vortex, it’s been pretty popular but we have some availability left in November and December.

Q: What sort of packages or spaces does the Alamo Drafthouse offer?

A: What’s great is that we have a really flexible space, with the two separate areas. In the Video Vortex, it’s your classic party space, it can accommodate 127 people seated, and it has the patio. We can fit up to 150 if we rearrange the furniture and we can do drink tickets or open bar there. Drink tickets, open bar, appetizers; a classic party in a bar space.

Upstairs, we have our theaters. For those we have a few ways of doing parties. What people expect is we can play films, new or old, that’s the classic option. We also have other types of programming, like music video dance parties, where we get a host to do a live DJ to stream videos. We bring in props for that. We’ve done it so far for Taylor Swift parties and 1980s dance parties. We can also host movie parties, you select a film like Elf and we bring in props as well as a host. You’re not just watching a movie.

Q: For a holiday party, how much can a company expect to spend?

A: For the theaters, we typically have food and beverage minimums at $20 a person, then for the rooms themselves, those are $2,000-$5,000. Of course, that depends on the day of the week; weekends are the most expensive. The cheapest options are Mondays-Thursday before 6 p.m.; there are great opportunities for Downtown businesses to have lunchtime events. With Video Vortex, it depends. Get in touch us and let us know what you’re thinking, it can run anywhere from $5,000-$15,000.

Q: What can planners tell you to help make hosting an event easy?

A: I think what makes it really easy is when hosts known how many people will be attending and the type of experience they want to provide for them. If you want a really lively event with music and everyone chatting, that gives us a framework. Likewise, if they say they want something really chill on a weekday afternoon, that points us to another type of event.

Q: Aside from the cinema’s regular kitchen and menu, are there special food offerings for parties?

A: There are. We do have a special menu for events; they’re mainly selections of appetizers and hor d’oeuvres that are not on the main menu. For instance, we’ve got these special sliders. We also have a vegan and vegetarian menu.

Q: What are some things that organizers can do to help get people at office parties relaxed and into a festive mood?

A: What I love about Drafthouse events, especially movie events, if you want something that appeals to everyone, is that a movie is a great way to get into a relaxing experience. If you mix that with a mixer afterward in Video Vortex, it gives a way to prime everyone for a party. Maybe they’ve had a drink or two, they’re relaxed and in a good space.

The Alamo Drafthouse is at 700 W. Seventh St. or