Drinking during the movies is a longstanding, widely beloved practice dating back to the advent of movie theaters. Sadly, the SLA makes it hard to legally indulge in a tipple theater-side, which has forced generations of moviegoers to smuggle booze in with vulgar plastic water bottles. Until now!
We recently spoke to Matthew Viragh, the owner of Williamsburg's Nitehawk Cinema, who has been working to overturn a state law barring alcohol in movie theaters. Nitehawk, which has a refined food menu created by the Vanderbilt's Saul Bolton, has a bar in the lobby area, but is not allowed to dole out drinks in the actual theater. Although a special exception appears to have been granted during a recent screening of TV on the Radio's Nine Types of Light, during which beer (but no spirits) was served.
Viragh says he's been working with community board and the SLA and should be serving up in-theater drinks (including cocktails) by the end of the month. "It's what we were set up for," he says. "It's going to make our entire space function as one." Guests will be able to bring a drink they ordered in the lobby into the theater, or order drinks and food from their seats during the film. "We also try to create food and drink specials inspired by the films we're showing, and that will probably have more resonance now that you can enjoy a cocktail while watching the movie," says Viragh.
Since the repeal of Prohibition, New York has permitted drinks to be served in all theaters except those showing movies, an SLA spokesman told the Times. Fingers crossed (and flasks safely tucked away) that Viragh's appeal goes as planned, and that more theaters (we're looking at you, reRun) will start pouring out the good stuff.