Photo by Elaine Mesker Garcia via Flickr

Contemplating food and drink pairings at the movie theater usually involves deciding between whether to have Coke or Sprite with your popcorn. At the Landmark Theatre in River Oaks, however, things are pleasantly more complicated.

Landmark River Oaks Theatre
2009 West Gray St.
713-524-2175 

First off, there’s the fact that the theater's beverage offerings encompass far more than simply soda. Some Yelpers are giddy over the fact that they offer free water, but I’m more impressed by the cocktails available on the second-floor bar.

While these drinks are not the imaginative (or borderline eccentric) libations you’ll find bars such as Anvil, Rosemont Social Club, or Lei Low, they are just as painstakingly concocted, and—more importantly—give new life to your movie-watching experience when accompanied by the right snack.

The icy Cosmopolitan, heavy on the vodka with just a blush of cranberry juice, provides nice balance to the caramel popcorn (courtesy of Popcornapolis).

Don't knock the caramel popcorn and Cosmo pairing 'til you've tried it.

If you prefer just butter and salt on your kernels, go for the sweet watermelon martini, so deceptively light you’ll swear you could drink them by the pitcher. (Don’t try—it won’t end well.) And though the chocolate martini is satisfying enough in itself, the addition of a box Goobers engenders a sublime sweet-salty experience.

I like to take advantage of the River Oaks Theatre's reasonably modest selection of red and white wines by the glass to enjoy my own adult version of "milk and cookies"—i.e., Merlot and vegan chocolate chip cookies from Alternative Baking Company—during an afternoon matinee.

Finally, one more in the don’t-knock-’til-you’ve-tried-it category: nachos with tub o' "cheese" and some Jameson (neat). Believe me, there’s something about the combination of smoky peat notes and processed cheese that makes a 10 p.m. showing of that official Cannes selection all the more enjoyable.

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