GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – A popular Grand Rapids movie theater will soon sell alcohol to moviegoers on a regular basis, a company official has confirmed. On Thursday, the Grand Rapids Planning Commission approved Celebration! Cinema North’s request to open a bar in the lobby and expand drinking into the theaters.
Steve VanWagoner, Celebration! Cinema’s vice president of marketing and public relations, told 24 Hour News 8 it could be as soon as this summer that a full bar will have been built inside its location on the East Beltline on Grand Rapids’ north side.
Plans for alcohol sales are being worked on and could start within a few weeks, he added.
Celebration! Cinema serves alcohol at several of its theaters, but none in Grand Rapids. VanWagoner said the company is excited to bring the service to Grand Rapids as it has gone over well elsewhere.
“People don’t come to see movies to have lots of alcohol,” Van Wagoner said. “They just want to have a drink to enjoy the show.”
Celebration! Cinema North was previously only allowed to sell alcohol on a limited basis, for special events. Once the change goes into effect, it’ll be serving alcohol year-round.
Only three other West Michigan movie theaters, Celebration! Cinema Portage, Celebration! Cinema Muskegon and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Kalamazoo can sell alcohol.
“It’s been astonishingly problem-free,” said James Sanford, creative manager of Alamo Drafthouse Kalamazoo. “We’ve had people who’ve come in after they’ve been out partying or something like that, and we’ve turned them down for service because if they’re visibly intoxicated, we can’t serve them.”
—Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story said that two other West Michigan movie theaters sell alcohol. It has been corrected to say that three West Michigan movie theaters sell alcohol.