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Sandwich City Council now backs theater’s liquor license request

Sandwich City Council members have changed their minds about a request from the owners of the Classic Cinema 7 Theatre, 101 Duvick Avenue, for a liquor license.

During a meeting in May, council members gave the request a lukewarm response. But a majority of council members expressed support for the request from Classic Cinema’s Chris and Tori Johnson in a straw poll held during a council committee of the whole meeting Monday, Aug. 1.

Alderwoman Rebecca Johnson was absent from the meeting and Alderwoman Cara Killey expressed some reluctance but said she would support the council majority.

Chris Johnson told the council that his firm is seeking the liquor license to sell canned beer, wine and cocktails to patrons from a cooler.

Johnson said the firm is not looking to have a bar, seating area or bartenders.

“It’s more of an ‘I’m going to have a beer or a glass of wine with my movie,’” Johnson said. “It’s definitely not ‘let’s hang out at the theater’ as you would at a bar.”

Alderwoman Karsta Erickson asked theater owners how they planned to stop patrons from sharing the alcoholic beverages with underaged persons.

Chris Johnson said they have ushers and are going to be vigilant monitoring that, and all alcoholic beverages will be served in the cans or in a clear, differentiating glass that will set them apart from the soft drinks.

Alderman Rich Robinson said that the cost of the alcoholic beverages should serve to deter sharing and limit underage consumption concerns.

“When you’re spending that much money on an alcoholic beverage, you’re not going to be sharing it with somebody or giving it to an underage person,” Robinson said. “You’re there for a reason: to watch the movie and maybe have a drink.”

Of the five council members present for the May 2 meeting, four had expressed concerns.

Alderwoman Johnson was absent from the Aug. 1 meeting, but was originally not in favor of the idea, saying, “I just don’t want to risk young people in that environment. There aren’t many things for young people to do in this town, and I don’t want to give them an avenue to be drinking.”

Alderman Rick Whitecotton said previously he was leaning against the idea, saying, “I think it’s way too many young people around, the whole environment would change.”

“There’s always a risk,” Robinson said at the May 2 meeting, “But just like rather than buying candy at the movie theater, how many people go to Walgreens, buy their box candy there and sneak it in anyway? I would assume if they want to drink, they’re going to do the same thing.”

City Attorney Cassandra Gottschalk will be drafting an ordinance for a new liquor license for the theater to be brought back before the council during their next meeting on Monday, Aug. 8.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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