ITHACA, N.Y.—Cinemapolis may soon have some added accoutrements to its movie theater experience.

While it’s unclear when exactly the legal process would complete, the New York State Liquor Authority ruled in late January that movie theaters will now be allowed to apply for licenses to sell beer and wine to movie patrons. Cinemapolis Executive Director Brett Bossard confirmed downtown’s independent movie theater would at least be applying for such a license.

“We will be pursuing the licensing, but it’s unclear at this point how long that will take,” Bossard said. “There are several consulting firms that support the process, and we’ll be engaging with one in the next few weeks. In the meantime, we’ll be in talks with our local breweries, wineries, and cideries about the exciting prospect of future collaborations.”

Theaters will still not be able to serve hard liquor, and must prove that the alcohol sales will not be the business’s primary source of revenue—presumably, that won’t be any trouble for Cinemapolis. Regal Cinemas, which currently still has a location out in the Shops at Ithaca Mall, has served alcohol at locations where it is legal for several years, so it will likely apply as well.

Up until now, theaters would only be allowed to serve alcohol if they have a commercial kitchen to make food as well. According to Eater NY, the State Liquor Authority’s ruling will now open eligibility up to places that only make lower-level foods, such as typical theater fare of popcorn.

Bossard said he thought that the idea of movie theaters serving alcohol would be stuck in the legislative machine for years to come, as it already had been, unable to gather enough support among statewide electeds.

“This end-run directly to the liquor authority is brilliant and much more practically minded,” Bossard said.

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Managing Editor at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at