Members of the city council’s Public Safety Committee seem willing to award the Carmike Wynnsong 16 theater on Schillinger Road an on/off premise license to sell beer and wine, if the cinema meets certain requirements.
Committee Chairwoman Bess Rich called the issue “a work in progress,” after cinema representatives agreed to not allow alcohol into theaters showing G-rated movies and having an officer of Mobile Police Department working security at peak hours on Friday and Saturday nights.
This is in addition to moves the cinema had already planned to make if given the license. James Pittman, a Daphne attorney representing Carmike, said the cinema would have a separate register for alcohol sales. In addition, every driver’s license would be scanned and patrons buying beer and wine would be required to wear wristbands. Pittman said the theatre would serve alcohol in clear cups, as well.
Customers would also be limited to a maximum of two drinks and they would only be allowed to buy one drink at a time per customer. The theater would also hire a compliance officer to do compliance checks at each of the theaters at the facility.
The biggest concern for committee members was the accessibility of alcohol to minors and the potential of crime caused by alcohol consumption.
“We will send in operatives and we will do it several times,” Councilman John Williams said. “If we catch you there is no warning. This ain’t baseball.”
Another hang up for Williams was the cinema’s policy of not detaining someone caught selling alcohol to minors, which brought about the initial discussion of having a police officer there during busier times.
“When a patron gives alcohol to a minor I expect that person to be detained,” Williams said.
If the license is approved, Carmike will renovate its lobby and add a kitchen to its facility to offer better food options, like salads, sandwiches and pizza, Pittman said. The changes would help Carmike compete with streaming services, like Netflix and video on-demand.
“Market data and surveys show people would like to have beer or wine at the movies,” he said. “Five to 10 percent of theaters are licensed to sell alcohol. In five to six years it’ll be 70 percent.”
If it gets approval, Carmike will be the second theater and first multiplex to serve beer and wine in Mobile. The Crescent theater downtown sells beer and wine in a single screen setting.