Hey mister, buy me a beer?

Years ago, long before my life turned to mowing grass and hanging curtains, I went to a cinema brewhouse where you could watch a bad movie and get soused at the same time. I dimly recall a bunch of drunken college students hooting at “Blue Lagoon” but perhaps that was at a plain old theater. Honestly, some brain cells didn’t survive the beating of that era.

But I got to thinking about it because our Town Council is weighing whether to allow the sale of liquor at the new Bow Tie Cinemas in the still freshly painted Blue Back Square development.

The draft ordinance that officials are considering “would allow theaters such as Criterion (which owns Bow Tie) to serve beer and wine under a cafe permit,” according to The West Hartford News.

The paper said that Planning and Zoning Commission Chair Jeffrey Daniels “said he believes the ordinance as it is currently written is missing language that could prevent children under the age of 21 – the audience to which many of Criterion’s films are targeted – from accessing liquor in the theater.”

“It is possible to control access, and when you control access, you reduce misuse. There’s a lot of best practice that tells you that. I’m saying this ordinance doesn’t even look at this. It just puts a blind eye to it,” Daniels told the weekly.

One alternative is to have a designated drinking section inside the theater.

Even that, though, may not be enough to let the proposed law pass muster.

“The concern is that someone is going to go into the theater and pull what they called in my day a ‘Hey, Mister,’” Mayor Scott Slifka said, according to the paper.

Lord knows that young people in West Hartford are resourceful enough to get hold of beer and win without resorting to whispers in the dark of a movie theater, as any of them will freely admit to any adult who is not their parent.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a wise idea to tap the kegs and bring out the corkscrews at the local cinema.

It’s kind of a sad commentary on our community’s adults, not our kids, if the theater can’t thrive without serving up alcohol to ease the burden of sitting through most of the crap that passes for movies these days.

While it’s probably true that “Hancock” would seem a little less dumb after a six pack, that just doesn’t seem reason enough to expand once again the vices that most reasonable people would like to see a little less of rather than exposing everyone to more.

What’s next? Slot machines in the lobby?

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26 Comments

Filed under News, town council, West Hartford

26 responses to “Hey mister, buy me a beer?

  1. rob

    Regarding the theater and the liquor license.

    A couple of years ago we had the refreshing experience of dragging a blanket and cooler down to the white sands of South Beach just before dusk. There a giant screen was up, a projector in the back of a rental truck was several yards away and concert sized speakers were positioned here and there.

    We joined and were joined by hundreds of happy people all together on their blankets sipping on a nice wine and snacking on cheese and snacks and meeting neighbors. At the stroke of dusk the movie began as did a delightful and enjoyable evening.

    If the theater wants to try to recreate that experience, more power to them. Theaters have to do something to increase traffic after all and this sounds like a good thing to at least try. The city should let them try it and, if there are problems – which I doubt, deal with them as they come up.

    If WH put on a few movies in a city owned park somewhere, that would be really fun, cheap and an excellent community event. Or, go from park to school ground to baseball field on a rotating basis from week to week so neighbors can walk without having to drive and park.

  2. afbailey

    I too was concerned about this and sent an e-mail to the Town Council ( see below) – if the concern is about increasing revenue, then maybe we should consider other options as mentioned, ie, outdoor theatre, more support for the Grounds to plan activities, etc. We have not seen a decrease in out taxes as a result of BlueBack, so I think we need to advocate maintaining a balance for what happens there and that should be for everyone to enjoy what is now a reality in WH..

    e-mail sent to Town Council:
    I am writing in response to the cover story in the West Hartford News regarding the discussion and consideration to have alcoholic beverages served at the Criterion movie theatre in Blue Back. I don’t think the question is whether to have a “cafe permit” or a “tavern permit”, but rather is it really necessary to have alcohol served at the theatre.
    >
    > I am saddened that this is even a consideration for the Town Council – while Blue Back created much fury in the town, I am quite pleased with how people of all ages mill around in the evening listening to music, etc.. With regard to the question of alcohol, aren’t there plenty of places for people to go if they want a cocktail, glass of wine, or beer. Again, I ask – Is this really necessary?
    >

  3. jweldon

    I can’t believe what fervor a liquor permit for Criterion is causing. I mean really….is the general consensus that a movie theater hocking beer and wine will lead to the further degeneration of the already disaffected youth of West Hartford?

    If, and albeit it is a broad and sweeping generalization but from what I’ve witnessed more often the case than not, the parents of West Hartford youth would step off of their soapboxes and stop fighting causes, and start actually parenting or getting involved in their kids lives…we’d all be a little bit better off.

    In the mean time, I’ll take the money I would be spending in Blue Back on movies, shoping and meals on down to New Haven where the Criterion shows a Sunday brunch flick with a mimosa and I have yet to witness any harm done.

  4. asshole

    fuck you shitheads

  5. TunaTacoGrande

    How about the town residents stop crying about the possibility of beer being served at a movie theatre and start worrying about things such as the pathetic school bus situation for King Philip Middle School Students? The route that runs toward the vicinity of Prospect Ave has become such a disgrace that involved parents are no longer letting their children ride on this bus. It is filled with fighting, swearing, intimidation and many other things you’d expect from a bus route in Frog Hollow.

    Wake up, MORONS! Start paying attention to what is actually going on in this town and stop worrying about typical West Hartford nonsense such as beer in a movie theatre.

    Wow, get a clue.

  6. Sarah Mellan

    Seriously? Stop polluting the town site, if you want to talk like that, please do it elsewhere.

  7. TunaTacoGrande

    Talk like what? Are you kidding me?

    Wake up!

  8. Josh

    TTG: I think she’s taking umbrage at “things you’d expect from a bus route in Frog Hollow.”

    As for the topic at hand, I tend to agree that if local teenagers want booze, they’ll manage, regardless of whether it’s served at a movie theater. I mean, if the “hey mister” is such an issue, why wouldn’t they just go to the grocery stores where beer is sold and avoid the movie theater mark-up? If teenagers want to drink at the movies, they’ll likely sneak their drinks in no matter what – I saw two adult patrons at the BBS theater spiking their large sodas with what looked like rum, so teenagers could surely do it too.

  9. TunaTacoGrande

    “TTG: I think she’s taking umbrage at “things you’d expect from a bus route in Frog Hollow.””

    Fair enough, but if you live in the Hartford area I assume you all know that Frog Hollow is not the safest of areas. I have spent a lot of time in Frog Hollow, and if I’m paying West Hartford tax rates I’d sure expect a better environment thant what you see on Park Street.

  10. Jon

    Beer and wine in the theaters?
    That might have saved the Elm…

  11. People are too self assured that they know what to do about drinking ages. The Bible certainly does NOT give an age to drink. Who cares that Jesus turned the water into wine without a permit? Dang, what a world this is. MONEY MONEY MONEY and I am sure that the issue some how relates to someone’s wallet than it does to the matter at hand.

  12. Too many chiefs and not enough Indians.

  13. People better get ready to admit their own short comings and the love of money is one of those.

  14. Can we slow down progress when it’s all about people who THINK they know?

  15. No wonder statues weep. You might think that we are just being hateful birds or something.

  16. Tie one on, but make sure it doesn’t come loose.

  17. It’s a fine command of God that we love each other but honestly folks, if you only follow part of the Bible, you are not of God and if you pick apart teachings and confuse understandings and you get angry people, it’s your fault.

  18. Simone

    Wine and beer are served at Real Art Ways. They have very polite crowds there, so what’s the problem with offering alcohol at a West Hartford theater? For that matter, why can’t people buy beer or wine on Sunday in this town/state? Are we still too influenced by the Puritans?

  19. we had a FINE movie theater once upon a time. it was called the central.

    i personally don’t care what they do in black and blue square or the rest of the center. until all the hipsters and scenesters vamoose (along with their suvs and designer dogs) i will NOT be found there.

    i vowed NEVER to go. i did have to break that vow once, when i took my father to a doctor that was located in the heart of black and blue. that could NOT be helped.

    let’s concentrate on getting our services BACK and our taxes lowered.

    hey………………wasn’t black and blue supposed to DO that? hmmmmmmmm

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