Flix Brewhouse is the newest movie theater in Albuquerque, and it comes with the added perk of being a full-service restaurant and brewery. This Alamo Drafthouse-esque kind of theater hybrid is one of my favorite modern inventions, so I, of course, had to check out the new spot.Even though Flix is way out on the west side of the Rio in a mostly empty new strip mall, its parking lot was completely full when I visited with my homie Rachel a couple weeks ago. I quickly discovered that we had come during one of their “grand opening” events, but I’m not convinced that this place won’t always be so swarmed.The brewery is on the north side of the building, where you can see the giant silver brewing tubs lit up like Christmas trees through floor-to-ceiling windows. The lobby and restaurant are similarly bright, spacious and welcoming, bustling with friendly servers and staff. When the digital ticket kiosk refused to print our movie tickets, we were instantly helped by two bright-eyed staff members who apologized and quickly fixed the issue. This theme was repeated throughout the night as every staff member we encountered made a point to be friendly, knowledgeable and professional. What’s more, they seemed to not hate their jobs. I hope they’re getting paid a lot.Since we arrived with plenty of time before our movie (we saw Hidden Figures—I highly recommend it), we took a seat at the bar to have a beer before showtime. On tap were the six “mainstay beers” that are available at every Flix location in the country, several Albuquerque-specific brews concocted in-house, as well as a half dozen guest beers. We tried three of the house brews: the Flix Golden Ale ($4.75), the Luna Rosa Wit ($4.75) and the Radegast Pale Ale ($4.75). They all tasted like watered-down versions of what I was hoping for. The beers were, unfortunately, the underwhelming part of the night—especially considering the “Brewhouse” bit is in the name. Since Flix is a young establishment, I’m hoping that their beer recipes are still in the troubleshooting process and will emerge as better versions in the next few months.After a couple of drinks at the bustling bar it was time for us to head into the theater. This is no standard dollar theater—the seats are big leather recliners, and a long, underlit table runs the length of each row. Very fancy stuff. The food service runs much like a Violet Crown or an Alamo Drafthouse here, with a chipper server stopping by once you’re seated to explain the whole system of silent ordering they use once the movie’s rolling. Throughout the movie, I was impressed by how quiet and careful the staff was.Once seated, we ordered our meal. Since I don’t care about my arteries, I started with the loaded French fries ($9.95), which come covered in Hatch chile queso, melted cheddar, jalapeños, bacon and chives. Flix’s fries are golden and crispy like all of the best fries are, and I would go back just to binge-eat those and watch Rogue One for a third time. I also greatly appreciated that they weren’t drowning in cheese, carnival-style. That being said, I did wish that the chile was a little more present—there was very little heat to be detected in the queso.Next, I had the black bean veggie burger ($10.50), which comes topped with roasted red pepper, fresh basil and herb aioli on a whole wheat bun (and, of course, more fries on the side). Now, most restaurants tack this menu item on as an afterthought for the sake of vegetarians, and they typically phone it in. But this one actually tasted like vegetables—rather than the dry black beans mashed between bread which is the standard fare. There was just the right amount of heat from the chipotle in the patty and smokiness from the red peppers.Rachel had the Mediterranean pizza ($11.50), which comes with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, spinach and kalamata olives. It was not the greasy, been-sitting-under-a-heat-lamp pizza that one might get at a typical movie theater. It was fresh and deliciously salty from the feta and olives. The pie came on a thin crust that was the perfect size for two people to share. The server told us that the chef at this particular Flix location used to be at California Pizza Kitchen, and thus many of the pizza recipes here resemble those at CPK.Although the prices on the Flix menu are higher than I’d expect for the kind of fare it is, I also understand that they’re upcharging for the novelty of the place. And ultimately, ordering beers and burgers in a movie theater does kind of feel like you’re getting away with something. Personally, I’m willing to shell out a couple extra bucks for that feeling.
Flix Brewhouse3236 La Orilla NW(505) 445-8500www.flixbrewhouse.com/albuquerqueHours: Check showtimes in Film sectionVibe: CasualAlibi Recommends: Loaded fries, any of the pizzas