West Acres Cinema Renovation May Include Liquor Sales - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Fargo Liquor Control Board still debating movie theater liquor

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West Acres Cinema, which is owned by Marcus Theaters is looking at a major remodeling project, which could include the sale of alcohol.

A liquor license is required, so they approached the Fargo Liquor Control Board this afternoon.

A theater representative says they want to create a bar for movie-goers to relax before and after shows. It's a move they have made at other theaters around the country and is something they say they will work hard at to avoid problems with drinks in the shows.

No formal decision was made with the board, but some community members questioned whether such a move is right in a family atmosphere.

There are other family-oriented businesses in Fargo who have learned to manage a child-friendly atmosphere and alcohol, like the Space Aliens Grill & Bar in Fargo- a popular destination for kids who want an out-of-this-world birthday party.

"We have an alien mascot that comes out and greets all the kids and waves to them, high fives them, poses for pictures with them and all that kind of good stuff," says the restaurant's Operations Consultant Aaron Blazer. 

The restaurant has both an arcade and a bar.

"The family can sit down and still have a good meal and maybe a couple drinks while they're waiting for their kids in the game room," he says. 

Blazer says space aliens is family-oriented and they've never had any issues offering fun for all ages.

"Honestly don't think I've ever had a complaint where somebody objected to us serving alcohol," he says. 

Mother Tami Albert went out to lunch with her two girls and their grandma. She says whether alcohol is in a restaurant or theater, it's all about how it's handled.

"As long as it stays controlled and people are being respectful of children being there, I wouldn't see a huge issue with it," she says.

At an adjacent table is another mother Nikki Helbling who brought her little one for lunch. She knows drinks can come into the restaurant area, but isn't OK with drinks at the movies.

"I feel that should be left out of the theaters if children are going to be exposed to that. I think there's places for alcohol and I think a movie theatre isn't one of those," she says.

A debate to be continued. Blazer says he truly believes that if you have a well-trained staff, alcohol can be around children without any issues. The board said today they will continue to meet with Marcus Theaters to discuss what kind of license would be appropriate and if it would be approved.




The West Acres Cinema in South Fargo is considering a multi-million dollar renovation that would include selling food and liquor, if approved.  Parts of the renovation will depend on whether the city will approve a liquor license that would allow beer, wine and spirits to be served throughout the entire cinema complex.

At the forefront of the renovation is the addition of The Take Five Lounge. It will allow adult guests the opportunity to enjoy their favorite cocktail, glass of wine or craft beer. The Take Five Lounge has been rolled out to six other Marcus Theatres in the country and the company says it would be an integral part of the renovation plans for West Acres Cinemas.

Aside from the lounge, Marcus Theaters says their envisioned renovations would include an upgrade of the lobby, creation of an Ultra Screen DLX auditorium, installation of DreamLounger seating throughout the auditoria. They are also planning on a number of food and beverage enhancements including our Zaffiro's Express with signature Zaffiro's ThinCredible Pizza along with shared plate appetizers, salads, sandwiches and desserts.

Marcus Theaters says they have several policies and procedures in place to make sure that liquor license laws are followed.  They say they will use usher monitoring, infrared glasses and different colored and logoed cups to differentiate alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The staff selling the alcohol will be separate from the regular stands for concessions and would only allow one drink per valid ID.

The intended hours of operation for the Take Five Lounge will be 3:00 p.m. to close Sunday through Thursday, and noon to close on the weekends. The liquor licensing for West Acres Cinema will be discussed at a on Wednesday, February 19, at a city board meeting.

The theater at 4101 17th Avenue SW in Fargo, North Dakota is a 14-screen movie theatre.  It is one of 55 movie theatres owned and/or operated by Marcus Theatres Corporation.

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