Moviegoers 21 and older will soon be able to order wine or beer to pair with their buttery popcorn at Roseburg Cinemas.
Ashland-based CineMagic Inc. is adding three auditoriums to its eight-screen Garden Valley Cinema at 1750 Northwest Hughwood Drive. One auditorium will be restricted to adults 21 years and older, said Daryn McLennan, vice president of operations.
“It’s something you are seeing more of. We are trying to (provide) the environment where people who want to get wine or beer and watch in a 21-and-over environment can,” McLennan said.
The 74-seat auditorium will have bigger seats with tables in between and more leg room. Food options will expand to include appetizers.
Construction started in November, and the three auditoriums and lounge are scheduled to open July 18, McLennan said. The expansion project includes moving screens from the company’s Harvard Avenue theater, which will close June 29 and will be used by a church.
Other theaters in the Pacific Northwest have added alcohol, including in Eugene, Bend, Beaverton and Portland. Alcohol can be purchased in theaters in Seattle and Vancouver. A theater in Bremerton, Washington, that McLennan operates also serves adult drinks.
Council member Marty Katz was the sole dissenter when the council on June 9 approved Roseburg Cinemas’ liquor license application, which is now before the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.
Katz said movie theaters are a place for families, senior citizens and for relaxation.
“I think allowing alcohol at a movie theater is morally wrong and it’s just not the right thing to do for a family entertainment,” he said. “I think it is the wrong thing to do on many levels.”
Katz indicated he has a different vision for Roseburg.
“We have a lot of tattoo parlors, we have a lot of secondhand stores, and yet we don’t have a library that’s open full time,” he said. “We have one bookstore and yet we’re going to say over here, ‘Let’s have alcohol at movie theaters,’ and then we wonder why we can’t recruit businesses, why we can’t recruit professional people.”
McLennan agreed with Katz about the family environment at the movies, explaining the adult-only auditorium will be the sole area where alcohol is served.
“It is 21 and over, so there will not be children,” McLennan said. “And we will also have a two-drink maximum.”
Admission to the adult auditorium will cost more than a ticket to other auditoriums, though the additional fee hasn’t been determined. Ticket prices currently range from $6.25 to $8.50.
Nearly 9,000 square feet will be added to the existing 19,500-square-foot theater. McLennan said the other two new auditoriums will have 123 and 182 seats, bringing the theater’s total capacity to 1,214 seats.
There also will be a party room for birthdays and other small events for up to 25 people.
“They will be able to come in and watch a movie and get concessions and then do birthday cake in the party room,” McLennan said.
The company sold Harvard Cinema to Redeemer’s Fellowship Church at 3031 W. Harvard Ave. for $1 million. The church plans to expand its ministries.
•You can reach reporter Christina George at 541-957-4202 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.