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Published: Wednesday, 8/6/2003

Company defends movie-alcohol plan

National Amusements, Inc., which has asked the state to allow alcoholic beverages at its theater complex in Maumee, defended the request yesterday after learning of opposition from city officials.

The company's new theater concept, which it calls “Cinema de Lux,” will include reserved seating, concierge-style customer service, and alcohol.

“Over the past several years, our industry has seen a dramatic increase in the percentage of adult movie-goers, and this new concept is perfectly suited to their preference for an upscale experience,” the statement read.

“Any beverages served on a National Amusements property fall under the same laws and guidelines that other restaurants, arenas, ballparks, or similar entertainment venues serving alcohol must follow.”

National Amusements operates theaters that serve alcohol in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Holtsville, N.Y., a company spokesman said.

Maumee City Council members criticized the plan during their meeting Monday night. The council received notice from the Ohio Division of Liquor Control that National Amusements applied for a liquor license for its 18-screen Showcase Cinemas on Conant Street.

Council has until Aug. 25 to request a hearing on the advisability of issuing a permit to the theater.

Councilman Brent Buehrer questioned last night why the company thinks alcohol would enhance the experience of going to the movies.

“If you are tailoring your clientele toward the family, one would have to ask why would you want to serve alcohol in that same venue,” he said. “The bottom line is that they want to make money.”

Several other council members expressed concern about serving alcoholic drinks at the theater after considering the number of underage patrons.

Sheilah McAdams, Maumee law director, told council that it would probably not be able to stop National Amusements from acquiring the license.

Under the current zoning regulations, the company would be permitted to sell liquor in the theater, she said.

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