Push continues to bring alcohol to movie theaters

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Business owners, local officials, and a handful of brewery groups think patrons should be able to enjoy an alcoholic beverage at the movies.

“This just makes sense,” Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said.

“We’ve definitely seen a decline in our attendance,” Aurora Theater owner Lynn Kinsella said.

Kinsella said she’s tried other ways to bring more people to her theater in East Aurora, but it’s not working.

“The reality is that they’re looking for a different type of movie experience, and we need to stay current with the times,” she said.

“We’re looking at ways to bring businesses back to downtown,” Assemblyman John McDonald said.

Local government officials argue a liquor license at the movies will keep theaters in business, create jobs for local vendors, and provide a better experience for you as a movie goer.

“I think they’re just looking for the same rights and privileges that other entertainment businesses have such as concerts and sporting events,” Nine Pin sales manager Joshua Whelan said.

Some are concerned customers will abuse the system. But under the bill, customers would be limited to one drink at a time, and staff would have to go through special training.

“Of course our staff will be trained to identify if there is someone who should not be served, and of course, they would not be served,” Kinsella said.

“If you’re going to have an alcoholic beverage, you’re going to get it before the movie starts,” AMC Entertainment Senior VP George Patterson said. “You’re not going to come out again because you’re going to miss the movie. That is the single best restriction deterrent that we have.”

Both bills are being discussed in committees in both the senate and assembly, and both have yet to come to the floor for a vote.

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