The entrance to Flix Brewhouse movie theater features a pub with views of the onsite brewery. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

The beer is brewing, the kitchen stocked, and the latest blockbusters queued up as a new dine-in movie theater prepares to open its doors on Wednesday in San Antonio.

Flix Brewhouse, located near Potranco Road at 845 Loop 1604 West, offers brewed-on-site craft beer, a full menu served in the theater, and the latest in Hollywood productions.

San Antonio is already home to three Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas theaters with one listed on its website as “coming soon” to La Cantera Parkway. The Alamo Drafthouse dine-in cinema was founded 23 years ago in Austin.

The San Antonio-based Santikos Entertainment also offers a full-service dine-in cinema experience at its Bijou theater inside the Wonderland of Americas Mall on Fredericksburg Road. Since the founder’s death in 2014, the profits from purchases made at Santikos theaters fund area nonprofits.

EVO Entertainment of San Marcos entered the increasingly crowded multi-screen theater and indoor entertainment market in early 2019 with a center in Schertz, directly across the street from a new Santikos Entertainment facility that opened two months later.

In the age of digital streaming, consumers are still motivated to leave home for the silver screen. A report by the Motion Picture Association of America stated that moviegoing in the U.S. and Canada saw a 5 percent bump in 2018, leading to an industry record of $11.9 billion. The global screen count increased by 7 percent, finishing the year just under 190,000. 

Founded in Round Rock in 2011, Flix Brewhouse operates theaters in nine cities and bills itself as the world’s only first-run cinema-eatery-microbrewery.

“You’re never more than 150 feet from the brewing process,” said Greg Johnson, director of sales and marketing for Flix Brewhouse, who gave a tour Monday of the 40,000-square-foot facility and its seven-barrel brewing system where fermentation tanks and a visible duct system delivers beer to brite tanks suspended above the lobby bar.

Beyond the bar, nine theaters with a total seating capacity of 900 are equipped with recliners fitted with swivel tables and call buttons to order food and beverages.

A service aisle between each row in the stadium-style theater allows its servers to take orders and serve food without disrupting the movie-watching experience. “One of the things that we think makes us special is that hospitality element, and we care deeply about that,” Johnson said.

The menu includes a large selection of food items made in-house, including pizza, burgers, Ahi tuna poke, wings, nachos, and of course popcorn, and the bar menu offers beer, wine, seltzers, and cocktails. Flix encourages patrons to arrive up to 30 minutes early for an ad-free custom pre-show and to place food orders.

Beef flautas are among the menu items at Flix Brewhouse. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Johnson said Flix is focused on making sure all three of its offerings – cinema, food, beer – are equally good. “From a revenue perspective, food is definitely our highest revenue-generating component, but movies are the driver, so the film is super important,” Johnson said. “Without film, nobody wants to come sit, no matter how comfortable the seats are.”

The San Antonio theater is the first Flix facility to debut digital laser projection and Dolby-surround processing on premium speakers. The theater is currently showing films such as Birds of Prey, 1917, Sonic the Hedgehog, The Photograph, and Bad Boys for Life.

Flix Brewhouse is located on San Antonio’s expanding far West Side on a 6-acre site along the Loop 1604 West frontage road the company purchased in 2018. Johnson said the company served as its own contractor, building the theater in less than a year.

“San Antonio has a great film market – the numbers exceed what you would expect against the average for per-capita movie going,” Johnson said. “So between that and [the] craft beer scene that’s growing, it’s prime for beer, prime for movies.”

The company has hired 150 full- and part-time employees, offering its minimum wage positions a tip-share program and incentive-based training opportunities. Flix plans to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of San Antonio to support at-risk youth programs.

For its opening Wednesday, Flix Brewhouse is offering its weekly Wednesday reduced-price ticketing, $5.25. Showtimes and tickets for reserved seating are available online at Fandango and Atom Tickets, and at the theater box office.

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.