Movie Theater Booze Bill Met With Fears of “Commingling In A Darkened House”

The Washington State Liquor Control Board says it opposes Vancouver Sen. Craig Pridemore’s bill to allow movie theaters to serve beer and wine and admit minors because of concerns about “commingling in a darkened house,” which is also the title of Jane Austen horror novel I just made up.

At a committee hearing on Pridemore’s bill—which would pull an end-around on an obscure state law which bars minors from places where beer and wine are served—Tuesday, representatives of the Washington State Liquor Control Board told legislators they’re concerned about adults “passing off” wine and beer to minors in darkened movie theaters. The WSLCB said liquor agents could have a hard time adequately policing liquor sales in darkened theaters because, let’s face it, ID checks during a movie might be even more irritating than in-theater talking and texting.

A 2010 state liquor board rule change prohibits minors from sitting in theaters where booze is served. Pridemore’s bill would allow theaters to get a special license and create a “minor control plan” to make sure kids aren’t getting wasted during at Disney movies.

At today’s hearing, legislators also discussed making changes to the bill to only allow booze at small movie theaters, and prevent multiplex chains from serving 64 ounce megacups of Michelob.