Trail’s Royal Theatre reviewing new liquor rules

Royal Theatre is looking into serving liquor following the provincial announcement last week.

People have been asking for it and now the Royal Theatre is looking to deliver.

In the wake of a provincial announcement last week allowing B.C. movie theatres to obtain licences to serve alcohol during screenings, the city’s premiere theatre is investigating the possibility.

Royal owner Lisa Milne said Friday she wanted to get a better understanding of Housing Minister Rich Coleman’s announcement that booze will be allowed in adult-only auditoriums in both movie houses and live theatre events.

“It’s something our patrons have been asking for, right from that opera crowd, to hockey fans to even our everyday movie goers,” she said.

“Our patrons like to have a glass of wine, or have a beer, that sort of thing … but I want to be sure we know a bit more about it before we pursue it.”

According to the province, theatres must be closed to minors during screenings because, in the dark, it would be difficult to enforce the rules against under-age drinking.

The rules strike the right balance between allowing liquor service, said Coleman, and making sure no minors are drinking.

Milne did not want to exclude children from theatre screenings in their single-screen site, and felt there might be sticky stipulations that could prevent the theatre from deciding to obtain a licence.

“Will the Royal Theatre be pursuing it? If it is in our best interests, yes,” she said. “If it works that it would be fair to all of our patrons, absolutely. But if it works out that it might eliminate some of our patrons, it might be something we save for very special events.”

In bigger theatre complexes with multiple screens, under the new rules they could designate a drinking zone. The Royal does not have that option with only one single screen.

The change comes after the old rules that banned liquor in movie houses forced the Rio Theatre in Vancouver to lay off staff and give up $40,000 worth of business when it had to back out of a local film festival in January.

Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario allow alcohol in movie theatres, with age restrictions.

— with files from The Canadian Press