Cinematic cocktails: a tale of two Alamo Drafthouses


My pursuit of themed drink menus is unflinching and unapologetic.

San Francisco’s New Mission Drafthouse cinema serves pretty great cocktails both in the theater and in their attached bar, Bear vs Bull. During a recent showing of 2005’s Pride and Prejudice the following cocktail menu was available:

The Longbourne: Aylesbury Duck vodka, lemon, Cointreau, raspberry gum.

Bingley: Old Fashioned with Old Scout bourbon, Bear Vs Bull barrel (pictured above on left)

Darcy: Old Fashioned with St. George apple brandy, Bear Vs Bull barrel (pictured above on right)

We didn’t dare try the fruity vodka-based Longbourne, instead pitting our Old Fashioneds against one another. The Bingley was charming and approachable, but the Darcy won out in a taste test (perfectly rational when you recall the differences in their respective characters and fortunes).


A trip to Kansas City’s Drafthouse theater taught me a bit more about the custom cocktails at each one. Many Alamo Drafthouses must initially follow corporate standards, including set cocktail menus. After a certain period the bars are granted freedom to experiment. Which explains why the Rogue One cocktails are credited to non KCMO employees — those cocktails won a nationwide contest.


Bear Vs Bull is particularly fortunate, then, in creating such a strong cocktail program out of the gate. (If you’re in the bar, try the Great Silence, a mezcal and orgeat delight that’s been my favorite since opening day. It is not available on the in-theater menu.)

Cheers to those bartenders who curate a cocktail experience to match our movies — this audience member values a multi-sensory experience.

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