Sandwich City Council ‘lukewarm’ on cinema’s liquor license request

A grand re-opening event was held July 28 at the Classic Cinemas, 101 Duvick Ave. in Sandwich.

Sandwich City Council members are, in the words of Mayor Todd Latham, “lukewarm” on a request from Classic Cinemas for a liquor license to sell alcoholic beverages at the firm’s Classic 7 Theatre at 108 Duvick Avenue.

Latham told the council during a May 2 committee of the whole meeting that the theatre’s owners had reached out to him with the request.

Of the five council members present for the meeting, four expressed concerns.

Latham addressed his own hesitation before opening the topic to the floor for discussion.

“It’s dark,” said Latham of the theatre. “Who’s to say you’re not going to have a 21 year-old buy it (alcohol) for him and his buddies to drink?”

Alderman Rich Robinson said he would like to see some of the ordinances in neighboring towns before making a decision.

“There’s always a risk,” Robinson said, adding, “But just like rather than buying candy at the movie theatre, how many people go to Walgreens, buy their box candy there and sneak it in anyway? I would assume if they want to drink, they’re going to do the same thing.”

Robinson also raised concern that theatre owners may have difficulty finding staff of legal age to serve the alcohol, should they be allowed.

Alderwoman Rebecca Johnson was not in favor of the idea, saying, “I just don’t want to risk young people in that environment.”

Robinson noted the city has previously approved temporary liquor licenses to the Sandwich Opera House, allowing them to assemble a bar and serve alcohol at selected events.

Alderwoman Cara Killey said the alcohol concessions at the Opera House have gone surprisingly well, though she wasn’t originally in favor of it.

“I would need to know how they’re going to enforce that,” said Killey, adding that they would have to “Be very very careful.”

Johnson added, “There aren’t many things for young people to do in this town, and I don’t want to give them an avenue to be drinking.”

Alderman Rick Whitecotton said he was leaning against the idea, saying, “I think it’s way too many young people around, the whole environment would change.”

Latham said he would relay the council’s concerns to the theatre’s owners and suggest the request requires further research.