Moviegoers at downtown Sacramento’s Esquire Imax Theatre now can drink beer and wine while watching movies on a giant screen.
The Esquire will serve Ruhstaller 1881, Coors Light, Racer 5 and Blue Moon beers on tap and Woodbridge cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, theater director Doug Link said. The theater also expanded its concessions menu to include pizza, chicken tenders, soup, salad and Morant’s sausages, along with a sausage “fixins bar,” Link said.
“People have been asking for years why they can’t drink beer and wine at the theater,” Link said. “In the past, we did not have the right concessions status (with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control).”
Esquire spent about $20,000 on a new refrigerator, freezer, oven and sausage grill to meet the ABC standard of food service required to accompany beer and wine service.
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The Esquire becomes the second daily-run movie house in the Sacramento region to serve beer and wine. Rocklin’s Studio Movie Grill, which opened in December 2014, was first.
Unlike the Studio Movie Grill, the Esquire will not offer in-seat service. Patrons will bring their own food and drink into the auditorium.
Construction began this week on a third local theater that aims to offer beer and wine service. The city of Woodland and Northern California theater chain Cinema West have partnered in the transformation of the historic State Theatre into a multiplex that will include an in-house restaurant.
The local theaters are following a national trend, first popularized by Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas, of offering concessions beyond popcorn and soda.
“These types of theaters are really popular in Southern California, and in Texas,” Link said. “I used to open up theaters down in Mexico, and all the theaters there have alcohol service. I couldn’t figure out why (most U.S. theaters) didn’t. People aren’t going to come in here and get crazy.
“I don’t (foresee) people making multiple trips” to the concession stand for more alcohol, Link continued. “It is nice to enjoy a glass of beer or a glass of wine during a movie.”