Soon New Yorkers will be able to enjoy beer or wine while sitting at the movie theater.
Cinemas in New York are now allowed to sell individual servings of beer and wine for consumption while watching a movie.
On Wednesday, the board of the State Liquor Authority approved all movie theaters to serve beer, wine, and cider to customers during a movie.
The decision from the SLA came following an appeal from the National Association of Movie Theatre Owners, which made the argument that they should be extended the same privilege as those other venues and non-restaurant businesses.
Before today, movie theaters were only allowed to serve alcohol to patrons if they consumed it within a lobby cafe area or if the theater functioned as a restaurant.
Joe Masher, the President of the NY National Association of Theatre Owners, says it’s one piece of the puzzle to bringing people back to the big screen.
“We’re just looking for other ways to bring in revenue after our attendance being suppressed too much post-pandemic,” Masher said in an interview with News 10.
This ruling will go into effect immediately, but theaters cannot start selling alcohol without getting an approved liquor license.
“Any theater can now apply; they do have to give a 30-day notice to the municipalities and let them know that they are planning to apply,” Masher said.
Executive Vice President of The Business Council of New York State, Paul Zuber agrees that modernizing the Alcohol Beverage Control Law will help create more economic development for businesses throughout the state.
“There are literally laws on the books that have not been changed since prohibition ended, and it’s amazing to think there would be any laws on the books in New York State that would be so resistant to change as the ABC Law,” Zuber said.
Governor Hochul is also trying to bring back “drinks to go,” to help businesses stay afloat during the pandemic.
“The SLA’s Full Board voted to issue a Declaratory Ruling that under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, businesses operating movie theaters are eligible to apply for a tavern-wine or restaurant-wine license, without the need for a restaurant menu and table service, provided that alcoholic beverage sales are incidental to their operations as a movie theater,” the New York State Liquor Authority said in a statement.
According to the SLA, the policy change takes effect immediately as of Thursday, Jan. 20.