Time To Bring the Brew-and-View to L.A.

Bagdad Theater in Portland | Photo: eyeliam

It makes sense that way fewer people are heading out to movie theaters these days. There's the $15 ticket price. There's the improvement in technology which allows professional-grade equipment to be installed in your home. There's the fact that brand-new films are becoming easier to download or stream right to your set with little or no computer know-how. And there's the reality that while you can sip a few adult-appropriate beverages from the comfort of your couch, if you want to do that in a theater you have to carefully take snorts from a flask like some secret wino. For the most part, theaters do not serve booze.

But thankfully, this last difference is slowly eroding. Alcohol availability is trickling into theaters.

Last week it was announced that the AMC 6 theater in Marina Del Rey is undergoing a facelift to become a "Dine-In Theater." That means, they'll begin serving more extensive foods than popcorn and hot dogs, along with alcoholic drinks. Other improvements to the space include reclining seats with some extra space for viewers to put their dishes. (Audience members will, thusly, have to be over the age of 21.) While some other establishments already allow film-goers to purchase beer and wine on the premises for mid-movie consumption -- Culver City's Bridge Cinema De Lux, the 21-and-over screen in Hollywood's Arclight, and Pasadena's iPic joint are among the few -- the AMC theater is the largest chain thus far to delve into the possibility of turning into a brew-and-view. Meaning, if this one in Marina Del Rey is a success, no doubt others will soon follow suit.

Now, surely there's going to be plenty of complaints from uptight cinephiles regarding this sports-bar-ification of movie theaters. They'll claim that selling beer, wine, and maybe even some specialty cocktails will draw a more annoying than usual contingent into their precious theater, that sticking alcohol inside of those monsters who think it's alright to text in the middle of a movie is an idea that will ruin the public movie-going experience once and for all.

But I, for one, could not be happier. It is time for Los Angeles to fully embrace the brew-and-view.

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Whenever I visit the great city of Portland, Oregon -- something I do on a regular basis because, well, I am in my 30s, own a record player, live in Silver Lake -- among the many things that make it one of the few places I'd consider packing up my belongings and moving to is their large number of brew-and-views: Small, independent movie theaters were you can actually make a trip to the concession stand for a full pitcher of beer, or maybe a glass of wine, and enjoy it while watching the flick. And instead of turning the theater into a frat house free-for-all, it actually helps the movie-going experience.

Consider this: Seeing a movie in a theater isn't about watching something in strict silence, putting on blinders to the world around you. It is a communal experience. It is a large number of mostly like-minded individuals receiving the same audio and visual information at the same time, leading to dramatic stunt being met with a group gasp, or terribly suspenseful moments freezing everyone at the same time. It's screaming or laughing in unison, causing the horror or hilarity to become that much more intense. Seeing a movie in the theater is about community. And what better way to assist along that feeling that with a few pints being passed around?

That L.A., home of Hollywood and birthplace of "the pictures," doesn't have a bunch of brew-and-views littering the streets is a travesty. But one that, should the AMC in Marina Del Rey start raking in the dough, could finally come to an end.

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