Even though many of New York’s independent movie theaters have disappeared in the past several years—we’ll miss you, Ziegfeld—the city is currently experiencing a boom in the slightly fancier dine-in cinema department. South Street Seaport’s iPic, an eight-screen theater with plenty of food options, recently opened in the old Fulton Building, and Nitehawk Cinemas is expanding its reach with a new Brooklyn outpost in what was once the dodgy Park Slope Pavilion.
But arguably, the grandaddy of that particular trend is Austin’s Alamo Drafthouse, which opened its first theater in 1997 and has since expanded to more than 20 locations throughout the country. Its first NYC outpost, part of the City Point megaproject in Downtown Brooklyn, will finally open to the public on October 28 after years of planning, and Curbed got a look inside the rather nifty (and creepy, but we’ll get to that) space.
This particular theater, the chain’s 25th, has been in the works for years now, and—perhaps inevitably with New York megadevelopments—was waylaid by several setbacks around its original August opening date. But the wait was clearly worth it: The seven-screen, 800-seat theater is probably the nicest new movie theater to open in recent years, with cushy seats and a locally-focused food and drink menu.
Speaking of which, one of the defining features of the theater is the House of Wax, a bar and event space that’s also a rather macabre museum. True to its name, the space is lined with glass cases showcasing an assortment of creepy 19th-century wax figures, which were secured from a German wax museum. The oddities on view range from Napoleon’s death mask to life-size figures depicting women mid-childbirth. (Yep, really.)
Elsewhere, there are other touches that are specific to the Brooklyn Drafthouse: the entrance features an oversized photo of the New York City skyline, giving visitors a King Kong-inspired, Instagram-ready photo op; the many beers on tap all come from New York State; and some of its screenings are NYC-specific, including ones from its inaugural "New in Town" series (see: Muppets Take Manhattan, Coming to America, and Babe: Pig in the City).
Drafthouse co-founder Tim League, who started the chain with his wife Karrie, says that these location-specific touches are what sets the theater apart. "It’s by not stamping a cookie cutter—we’re never going to make a House of Wax again, for example," he explains. "That’s here and it’s very unique and very specific to the space. Otherwise I think the job of expanding would become pretty boring."
Showings are currently underway, and there are special activities planned for the theater’s first week—screenings and events and the like. As with most megaplexes nowadays, tickets begin at $14.50, though that price may change depending on the screening. (Some of its more obscure films, shown in 35MM, go for $10, for example.) Check out more photos below.