Movie and a beer? Councilors concerned about sales at Cinemaworld

Movie and a beer? Councilors concerned about sales at Cinemaworld

LINCOLN – The Town Council on Tuesday debated whether or not to allow alcohol sales at Cinemaworld Lincoln Mall. If passed, a BV victualers license would enable patrons older than 21 to enjoy a beer or glass of wine before and during a movie.

Representatives from the theater said that, aside from Warwick Mall, the Lincoln theater is the last in the state not to permit alcohol sales. Still, Town Council members expressed concerns related to underage drinking.

“What’s to prevent people from sharing drinks with a minor in a dark theater?” asked Councilor Ken Pichette. “It must be tough to police something like that.”

Dino Pacelli, managing director of operations at Cinemaworld, said the theater has “waited a long time to make sure we have all our ducks in a row,” visiting the company’s other theaters in Florida. Pacelli said there are camera systems in all of the auditoriums, and alcohol will be clearly marked.

“We have a good family presence here and we don’t want to ruin that,” he said. “The theater has been here for 13 years and we have a very good reputation in the community that we don’t want to tarnish in any way, but there is a trend that we want to stay ahead.”

Asked whether there would be a drink limit, Pacelli said it would likely be similar to the Showcase at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, where people are limited to roughly two drinks. A valid ID would be required, he said.

“We’re a movie theater, so we’re priced that way,” he said. “A young person typically isn’t coming in just to buy an $8 or $9 drink. Most people don’t come out to buy more drinks, because you can’t pause the movie.”

Councilor Jim Jahnz said he has concerns about what he sees as an inability to monitor the sharing of alcohol.

“We’ve talked on this council for years and years and years about this concern, and have agreed to disagree in the past. In fact, we had this disagreement last month,” he said, referencing a similar debate about alcohol sales at Chipotle Mexican Grill.

“With any of our establishments, we can monitor that footprint. I had similar concerns at Twin River regarding where people can buy and carry alcohol. In this case, I just can’t see it,” said Jahnz.

Pacelli said the facility already has a bar at CW Lanes & Games Bowling, which has been open for three years.

“I voted against that,” Jahnz noted.

“It’s been open for three years and we’ve maintained a clean record,” Pacelli said. The bar at the theater would be located in a former birthday party room.

Councilor Arthur Russo said he shares Jahnz’s concerns, but said alcohol sales in theaters “is the trend.”

“I had a glass of wine in a theater myself in Florida,” he said, adding that the North Attleboro theater also sells alcohol. “This seems to be a trend in the industry, and I certainly don’t want to handicap your ability to sell tickets.”

Russo asked whether the chief of police could be tapped to reach out to other communities to see whether or not movie theater alcohol sales are a problem.

Town Administrator Joseph Almond told council members that they could require the police detail assigned to the theater to report alcohol-related incidents to police.

Russo said he felt comfortable with that idea, while Councilor Keith Macksoud said he’s still not 100 percent in support of allowing beer and wine sales at the theater. Macksoud motioned to continue the conversation to the Nov. 27 meeting in order to gather information and “query those communities that allow this to see what’s going on there. If I hear it’s not an issue in other communities, I’d be more inclined to go along with it.”

Councilor Bruce Ogni said he shares some of the concerns of his co-council members, but “this can happen anywhere. I go there often, and they run a solid facility. I just think they deserve a shot to prove they can do this.”

Comments

I see no issue allowing Cinema World to proceed provided they take all responsible actions to ensure staff check id's and refuse sales to anyone who seems over inebriated. If a patron wants a glass of beer or wine while watching a movie it's their right. You can buy liquor at other movie houses, and even the theater. I've never heard or read of any issues at any of those places.

We have enough alcohol in town , dist 4 councilman does not want t and it’s in his district.
This will make it easy for minors to drink. Other places are 21 plus or have small amount of seating
This is a huge movie there compared and other theaters are geared towards adults this one is not
I urge all councilors to vote no including Ogni
We have a town that loves alcohol and gambling - no more !!!!

There is no reason to not allow this considering neighboring theaters have it. Disallowing it puts the business at a competitive disadvantage for no reason at all. I'm failing to understand how this makes it easier for minors to drink. If they want to drink they could get someone older to buy alcohol at a liquor store, not spend $9 for a beer at a theater.

I hate to break it to the Town Council, but kids can easily enter the theater already intoxicated or bring in small bottles of alcohol hidden in their clothing from home and dump it into their legally purchased soft drinks while the lights in the theater are off. The presence of a bar area isn't going to ENCOURAGE underage drinking if they've already gotten a head start or already had a battle plan in mind (which is usually the case). If the safeguards and monitoring are in place, there shouldn't be a problem. The theater shouldn't suffer when they are attempting to stay on trend. We almost lost the Lincoln Mall once due to bankruptcies...we don't need to do it twice!

Looking at this from a bird’s eye view and taking into consideration everyone’s perspectives including Council Members and the Business Representatives, I believe this isn’t the best Venue to allow beer and liquor sales. For me, I associate seeing a movie with soda, popcorn, candy, ice-cream and a family fun environment including a video arcade. Papa Gino’s stopped offering beer and liquor decades ago and has survived. I just think it’s an invitation for trouble if this gets approved. Why would anyone want to offer beer and liquor sales when there is CW Lanes and Games with a bar and grille a stone throws away and it’s the same Company.

I am confident that both the town and Cinemaworld are not desperate for revenue and will survive if this doesn't get approved.

For the person(s) who brought this idea to the Owners Group in Canada:

https://youtu.be/gYkACVDFmeg

At all showcase theaters, the bars are located on the second floor where only 21+ Patrons can be. The seating is 21+ as well so no one can sit in the designated area unless of age. It is called “Lux Level”. They usually only have a couple shows that are Lux Level (usually the rated R and most popular at the time). This should be considered and this would eliminate people sharing drinks with minors. I think the owner deserves a chance to compete with the big theaters.