Coming to a theater near you: Liquor
Going to see a movie has changed over the past two decades. These days, 3D movies and stadium seating are common and meant to make the moviegoers’ experience more enjoyable and comfortable.
Add to that, the staple snacks of popcorn, hot dogs and nachos and a day or evening show becomes a fine outing for most people.
Some movie theaters take the experience one step further and offer beer and wine, which can be purchased before the show and taken into the auditorium.
Cinemark 22 in Lancaster is one of those theaters. Cinemark USA Inc., applied for a Type 47 liquor license for onsite consumption of beer, wine and spirits. The Antelope Valley Mall location already offers alcohol.
Cinemark offers draft, bottled domestic, import and local craft beers; red, white and sparkling wine, frozen cocktails and specialty cocktails.
The Lancaster Planning Commission was set to consider a conditional use permit on Nov. 18.
But not everyone is pleased that the theater is planning to offer alcohol to its patrons. A representative from Pueblo y Salud wrote a letter to the editor voicing the organization’s unhappiness with the move. The letter stated that it would be easy for children to pass along alcoholic beverages to one another in a dark theater.
While that may be a possibility, the minor would first have to purchase said beverage, which, if the law if followed, would not be possible because they would have to present an ID when ordering, just like they would in a restaurant that serves alcohol or a bar.
We can understand the concern the organization has regarding the accessibility of alcohol in certain establishments, such as a movie theater. Why is it necessary to serve drinks at a place that has traditionally been geared toward good, clean fun? We’re assuming the Cinemark company is doing this because they see a market for it — and of course, they will benefit monetarily from it.
We are not sure what the policy is when alcohol is served at movie theater, but hope that patrons are limited to how many beverages they can purchase.
The last thing Lancaster needs is drunk people getting behind the wheel after leaving the theater.
It’s become commonplace to have the alcohol option at events, after all, it’s served at sporting events, concerts and festivals, to name a few. It seems people like to enjoy a drink wherever they may be and DUI rates don’t seem to have an impact on the companies that opt to serve liquor where it would not normally be sold — a theater for example.
The state of New Mexico suffers from an outrageously high DWI rate, yet that didn’t stop a Santa Fe movie theater from doing the same thing Cinemark is proposing. Violet Crown Cinema in downtown Santa Fe has been offering beer and wine at their theater for a few years, now. Despite the high DWI rate throughout the state, you’d be hardpressed to find a story related to a DWI incident resulting from someone who got drunk during a movie at the theater.
Perhaps the theater has a strict policy, which they enforce, when it comes to the amount served to an individual.
They must be doing something right — or maybe people are consuming alcohol responsibly. Either way, it seems to be a successful venture for Violet Crown, who’s been in business for at least five years.
We are on the fence about serving alcohol in a theater, but hope that in the future, we’re also hard-pressed to find a story about a DWI incident involving someone who consumed alcohol at Cinemark 22.