LINCOLN – Moviegoers at Cinemaworld at the Lincoln Mall will soon be able to purchase a beer with their popcorn after the Town Council passed the movie theater’s application for a liquor license on Tuesday night.
Council members debated whether or not to allow alcohol sales at their October meeting, eventually deciding to defer the conversation to this month’s meeting to gather more information. At the time, Town Council President Keith Macksoud said he wanted to hear from other communities’ police departments on whether or not serving alcohol at the movie theater created problems.
At the request of Town Administrator Joseph Almond, the Lincoln Police Department reached out to leaders in a number of municipalities that have passed proposals to serve liquor, including Burlington, Woburn, Tyngsborough, Haverhill, Newton, Dedham, all in Massachusetts, and two Cinemaworld theaters in Florida. There were no concerns reported by the towns that responded to the survey, according to police.
Burlington reported “no issues,” while Woburn said it has not been a problem for the past five or six years since the theater was granted approval to sell alcoholic beverages. Newton, which has a “Lux Level” theater where patrons are served food and drinks, also reported “no issues or violations.” Both police departments contacted in Florida reported no alcohol violations or “negative contacts with theater and/or their management.”
Cinemaworld Lincoln’s BV(victualers) license application passed with a number of restrictions, including an amendment to limit service to one drink per ID and two IDs per person. The hours of operation would be noon to 11:30 p.m., and patrons must be 21 or older to enter the theater’s bar area.
The bar will be built out of a former party room, according to theater officials, and will have a glass wall so parents can keep an eye on their underage children outside.
With the amendments, the motion to approve Cinemaworld’s application for a BV license passed 4-1, with Councilor Jim Jahnz voting against. Before the motion passed, he asked whether the town would be liable if someone at the theater is over-served. Town Solicitor Anthony DeSisto said liability could potentially attach to the town based on the fact that a police detail is assigned to the theater.
Jahnz also asked about the possibility of limiting drinks to a lux level, but a representative for the theater said that style, which is featured in Dedham and at Patriot Place in Foxboro, Mass., was more of a “prototype,” noting that newer locations in North Attleboro and Warwick do not do that.
Councilor Arthur Russo commended Capt. Phil Gould for reaching out to multiple municipalities, noting that all of them reported no alcohol-related incidents.
“This is exactly, I think, what the council was looking for,” he said. “…to do our homework before we grant anything. I’m very comfortable with the results.”
Councilor Bruce Ogni described the report as “much more extensive than I expected and alleviated most of my concerns.”
Macksoud voted in support of the application, as long as there is a two-drink limit, that the bar area is off-limits to those under age 21, and that everyone must present an ID.