New bill in next month's legislative session would expand which theaters can serve alcohol

VIDEO: New bill wants to expand where alcohol at the movies can be served

Enjoying an alcoholic drink while watching a movie in Washington has strictly been the purview of smaller theaters, such as Belltown's Big Picture.

The Regal Cinema theater downtown just applied for a liquor license, and a customer told us it would entice her back.

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House Bill 10-04 being proposed for next month's legislative session would rewrite the rules.

It would allow a spirits, wine and beer license in theaters with more than 120 seats and strikes a tabletop requirement at every seat.

Additionally, all staffers must be trained in responsible service, the bar must be separate from concessions and served in different style glasses.

Larger movie theaters say they've lost business to arthouse theaters over the years, and liquor sales would allow some of that to come back.

Last year, Senate Bill 51-61 was introduced with similar goals -- it passed the House, but was shelved in the Senate.

But some people, like Robin Faye from Bellingham, say streaming services and high prices have cut incentives to pay to go to the movies.

"I mean I love my local bar. I'd rather go there to drink liquor and go home to watch a movie," Faye said.

KIRO 7 will be tracking House Bill 10-04 in the new year's legislative session.