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?