Alcohol in Neighborhood Theaters

Is Alcohol Needed in a Movie Theater?

(Editor’s note: Circling the News received a letter from a resident about the liquor license for the new movie theater in Caruso’s Palisades Village. We have promised anonymity in order to post it. The question we pose to readers is, “Do residents have a right to determine the number of establishments that serve alcohol (or pot) in their neighborhood?” Please no attacks, just a yes or no and why.)

I, and many other residents, have questioned the need for serving alcohol at a local theater that will also cater to the community youth.

The Bay Theater was initially promoted to the community by developer Rick Caruso as a community-centric place where local kids could go without their parents having to drive them to Santa Monica. Now, with the inclusion of alcohol, the theater seems more of an adult-oriented venue.

I feel that there are ample restaurants for people to enjoy alcoholic beverages within 200 feet of the movie theater.

According to a 2015 News article (“Caruso Liquor License Update”), “The Specific Plan Amendment proposed to permit the sale of alcohol within a maximum 10 new establishments within the Subarea that includes the onsite sale and consumption of a full line of alcohol at six restaurants with table service, the onsite sale and consumption of a full line of alcohol within the cinema, and offsite sale and consumption of a full line of alcohol for three establishments which are envisioned to include two within the specialty market and one for a potential retail store such as sandwich shop/bakery-type use.”

Project Director Michael Gazzano said that liquor-license plans were developed because residents wanted dining options that would allow them to get a glass of wine or a cocktail with their meals.

So far, besides the movie theater, eight liquor licenses given by the City have gone or will go in front of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and include Vintage Grocers, Al Forte, edo little bites, Hank’s, Porta Via Palisades, Blue Ribbon Sushi and The Draycott.

There were no public hearings by the City of Los Angeles for the theater regarding the potential issuance of a CUB (conditional use beverage), which is now at the California ABC.

Letters requesting a public hearing on this specific application (the theater) were submitted to the Planning Department BEFORE the issuance of the Director’s Determination letter. Those letters should have been qualified as controversy, and a hearing held, but the letters were never acknowledged by the City. Liquor licenses still have to go in front of ABC and if enough people voice concern, another hearing may be required.

According to the most recent U.S. Census (2015), in Pacific Palisades, youths 19 years of age and younger comprise an estimated 27.6% of the population.

Cinepolis at 1035 Swarthmore Ave. (LHC Food & Beverage LLC), is located within 100 feet of 47 condominium residences and within a 500-ft. radius to more than 100 condos on Via.

Within close proximity to Cinepolis are more than 200 residential dwellings. Is any alcohol appropriate to be served inside of a community-oriented movie theater; would a push- button call for alcohol be acceptable to the parents of kids who are attending a theater unsupervised? How is carding accomplished inside a dark theater and how are fake ID’s treated? Will there be an imposed limit to the number of drinks one can purchase?

The license the theater is asking for is a Type 47 On-Sale General Eating Place. I looked at the FAQ section and a Type 47 is defined as Licensed premises that are maintained in good faith and used for the regular service of meals to patrons.

It seems a stretch that a movie theater is called a bona fide eating place, and more importantly, it seems that neighbors should have a say on the number of bars/alcohol establishments opening in a one-block area.


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3 Responses to Alcohol in Neighborhood Theaters

  1. Pacific Palisades Resident says:

    Let me try to understand this. People have posted on another site that kids are buying booze at our local markets with fake IDs. So now Caruso is going to open a theater that sells booze at kid moves on HIS property? Who bares responsibly at the car wreak that will occur on Sunset one night after a movie ?

  2. Judith Newmark says:

    Theatre all over LA serve alcohol and are
    able to controll access to children where alcohol is
    being served. Not all of the theatres will be accessible to them based
    on the rating of the films. Doncha think?

  3. Keith Turner says:

    It seems that every major movie chain in Santa Monica sells wine, beer, etc. AMC, Arclight, Landmark, etc. I have lived in the Palisades for twenty years and everyone I know here is looking forward to a modern cinema that sells wine. I have not heard a single person against wine at our local movie theater. Who is this anonymous person who said: “I, and many other residents, have questioned the need for serving alcohol at a local theater that will also cater to the community youth.” Sounds like actual fake news to me.

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