Reps for parent company American Multi-Cinema Inc. received administrative approval from Community Board 3 this month for a beer-wine license at 66 Third Ave. (Here's the questionnaire on file at the CB3 website.)
Presumably, it will be a similar operation as the AMC on 19th and Broadway, the Regal Union Square or Regal Essex Crossing ... where there's a small bar to either sit before-after a film or to purchase a drink to bring into the auditorium.
Given the paperwork involved with the State Liquor Authority, it will likely be several more months before any bar is up and running at the theater.
Last November, Village East by Angelika on Second Avenue and 12th Street received approval to sell beer-wine at a lobby cafe. That service hasn't arrived just yet.
In January, the State Liquor Authority ruled that movie theaters could now apply for beer and wine licenses, with consumption allowed in seats — not just from a lobby bar-cafe... ending a years-long debate about alcohol in theaters.
Of course, theaters in NYC like Nitehawk and Alamo Drafthouse have already been doing this for years. Under the state's former guidelines, operators could only sell booze if they also had a commercial kitchen for preparing food and an individual table for customers at their seats. Others were able to serve alcohol at bars in their lobbies under a separate license but not in theaters themselves.
We've come a long way from 2012 when CB3 — responding to resident concerns — rejected an application from Landmark Theaters for a full liquor license at the Sunshine Cinema on Houston Street.
Ted Mundorff, president and CEO of Landmark Theaters, told IndieWire at the time: "That was pretty shortsighted of folks… It's not like theaters that have alcohol have people falling down [drunk]."
The denial of alcohol sales from a lobby cafe (where they served slices from Two Boots) set in motion a series of events that saw the closure of the cinema in January 2018. Without the revenue boost, the theater chain decided against renegotiating the lease, and the building was sold and demolished to make way for a 9-story office complex.