Com­ing to a the­ater near you: Liquor

Antelope Valley Press (Sunday) - - Opinion -

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.

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