Movie News & Reviews

Fresno, Clovis movie theaters file for permits to sell wine, beer

Patrons pass by the notice at the Sierra Vista Cinemas 16 stating that the Clovis theater complex wants to begin selling wine and beer.
Patrons pass by the notice at the Sierra Vista Cinemas 16 stating that the Clovis theater complex wants to begin selling wine and beer. Rick Bentley

If things go as planned, you will be able to enjoy beer or wine while watching a movie at the Sierra Vista Cinemas 16 in Clovis or Regal Manchester Stadium 16 in Fresno. Both theater complexes have applied for license with Alcohol Beverage Control to sell the beverages.

The theaters are following a growing trend across the country that began more than a decade ago.

Santa Rosa Entertainment Group, owners of the Clovis complex, is in the beginning stages of getting the licenses needed to sell alcohol.

“It’s the current trend in the industry,” says Neil Pearlmutter, Santa Rosa Entertainment Group vice president. “It’s another way to offer more amenities to the customer.”

Regal Entertainment officials could not be reached for comment.

If granted permission to sell alcohol, these would not be the first theater to do so in central San Joaquin Valley. The Galaxy Tulare 10 at the Tulare Outlet Center has sold beer and wine since September 2014. No one with Galaxy Theaters would comment on the practice.

The ABC license the theaters have applied for is the same as the one issued to restaurants. That means they can sell alcohol even with patrons of all ages using the facility.

The permitting process could take six months. Applications go through ABC and then are approved by the planning commission and the local police department.

The theaters have to post a 30-day notice that they have applied for a license. The notice at Regal Manchester 16 was posted July 11 and Sierra Vista Cinemas posted July 13.

Christine Weldon, the supervising agent in charge at ABC’s Fresno District Office, says the notice gives anyone who might be against the application a chance to protest.

ABC requires that any resident within 500 feet of the facility be notified by letter of the action, and it makes sure there are no schools, churches or play areas within 600 feet of any facility looking to get a license.

Once the license is approved, the ABC sets down conditions for the sale of alcohol.

All sales must be made at a designated area or sold by a waiter/waitress in the theater. Workers under age 21 cannot serve or touch the beer or wine.

The ABC sets a limit of two beverages per purchase but the theaters can set their own limits. Drinks can be no more than 16 ounces. Cups holding the beer or wine must by significantly different from other cups. Beer can be sold in their original bottles.

ABC also requires a monitor to check on the sales once every 30 minutes.

Theaters that sell alcohol are also required to serve more than popcorn or chips. Foods like hot dogs and pizza must be available.

Rick Bentley: 559-441-6355, @RickBentley1