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It is now legal to have wine and beer at NYC movie theaters

Spider-Man with a side of white wine? Count us in.

Anna Rahmanan
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Anna Rahmanan
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Rejoice, New Yorkers! The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) just unanimously approved a measure allowing movie theaters to serve wine and beer at their concession stands and movie goers to carry the drinks inside the screening rooms.

Until now, cinemas were only allowed to serve drinks if they had a restaurant license alongside a full kitchen and waiters to serve the offerings to patrons already seated. Alternatively, cinephiles were allowed to consume wine and beer in the lobby. 

The ruling clearly changes things and—good news—it takes effect immediately. A note: hard liquor sales are still prohibited by state law.

"The SLA’s Full Board voted to issue a Declaratory Ruling that under the Alcoholic Beverage Control Law, businesses operating movie theaters are eligible to apply for a tavern-wine or restaurant-wine license, without the need for a restaurant menu and table service, provided that alcoholic beverage sales are incidental to their operations as a movie theater," the SLA said in an official statement announcing the news.

The decision follows an appeal by the National Association of Movie Theatre Owners. The group argued that cinemas should be allowed to sell alcohol for consumption under the same guidelines that apply to other live entertainment destinations around town, from Broadway theaters to concert halls.

To be clear: movie theaters will now be allowed to apply for beer and wine licenses, just like other entertainment venues, as long as the profits from the new menu items are not their "prime source of revenue."

This calls for a giant "cheers," New York!

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