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State’s budget agreement expands alcohol sales in movie theaters and continues takeout cocktails

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The New York State Assembly passed legislation earlier this week as part of a broader state budget agreement, allowing movie theaters to sell liquor and extending the availability of takeout cocktails from bars and restaurants. This move is expected to bring new opportunities for venues like The Little Theatre in Rochester, which previously could only sell beer and wine. Scott Pukos, the theater’s Director of Communications, expressed enthusiasm about the creativity this could foster, including the creation of themed cocktails for specific films.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

Under the new legislation, patrons will be limited to purchasing one alcoholic beverage per transaction, with sales concluding at the end of the last film showing each day. ROC Cinema in Rochester, which already operates a dine-in theater with a full bar, represents a model of adaptation within the changing cinema industry, according to owner Kristiina Dinino-Jeffords.

The legislation also supports the continuation of to-go alcohol sales, a measure that has been beneficial for restaurants like The Mad Hatter Restaurant and Bakery, also owned by Dinino-Jeffords. She advocated for the original bill allowing alcohol to-go, which is now proposed to extend for an additional five years. The changes are seen as vital for supporting local businesses and enhancing the dining and movie-going experience.