The Liquor Board visits Central Cinema, all shows now all-ages

The Washington Liquor Control Board visited Central Cinema earlier this week amid protest from citizens and Seattle city leadership over rules that could jeopardize the family-friendly business model at the neighborhood cinema (a CDNews sponsor). The problem is not gone completely yet, but the visit revealed that the cinema has been following rules that are no longer in place, prompting a few immediate changes:

More on the visit and the new rules changes, from Central Cinema:

We just had a positive meeting with the Brass of the Liquor Board. The directors of the various departments at the Liquor Board were in Seattle for meetings and they wanted a tour of the Cinema so they could see first hand how we operate. Generally they liked what they saw and it was a good thing to show them that are not a bad influence on children. It was interesting to find out that we have been following some rules that are no longer in effect. I had the Director of Enforcement tell me that the type of chairs and tables for dining areas was no longer and issue for them and that our folding arm/tables in the back are fine. The main issue for them is that people are actually eating in a dining area. This is a positive development as we will be able to open the upper level to all ages. It is a bit of a moot point as the upper level is being converted into booth seating over the next two weeks. We talked about what the next steps in the rule changing process are and we should be getting an official response to our petition soon. There is still a few months of governmental process to go until things are smoothed out but the prospects are looking better with each step.

20 thoughts on “The Liquor Board visits Central Cinema, all shows now all-ages

  1. So excited for my neighborhood cinema – and for my family!! This is great news. :)

  2. That is fantastic! Thanks to everyone who worked to support Central Cinema. Cheers to sanity re: liquor board rulings!!

  3. not so much of a victory for those of us adults who appreciate +21 age limits for places that offer late evening entertainment with drinking.

    oh well, can’t please everybody.

  4. Why? The Cinema could certainly make the decision to be 21+ if they wanted to, just the state is no longer forcing them to do so.

    Do you dislike children so much that you don’t want them near you while you drink? If so, I’m sure there are plenty of 21+ bars that will still meet your needs.

  5. Actually Matt, I honestly think kids are my favorite people in the whole wide world. I’ve worked with them for years and often wish I could still be one. Kids always make me feel happy, just by being kids.

    But sometimes I like to go places where kids are not present. Like you said, there are plenty of bars, and that’s fine. But for example, tomorrow I’m driving up north to Cinebar (+21) to see Hunger Games without the noisy hordes of young folks. It’s nice to have adults-only movie experiences, sometimes.

  6. Seattle has more 21+ events and venues than any town I’ve ever lived in. It’s not a crime to be younger than 21, but it sometimes feels that way in this town. Plus, I doubt there will be many kindergarteners at a 9:30 screening of Blue Velvet…

    With Hollow Earth Radio’s all-ages mission and now Central Cinema’s expanded all-ages showtimes, that block of Union is really expanding the options for young people in our neighborhood. Would you rather have uncontrolled house parties be the only weekend entertainment option for our young neighbors?

  7. I don’t think Central Cin should be +21 all the time. I’m not anti-kid. But maybe some nights or for certain shows adults-only would be ok?

    I didn’t live here when I was under 21 so admittedly I’m not too aware of the young folks’ options, or lack thereof, for entertainment. Although as I recall from being a teenager, I would’ve chosen any house party over a movie. Heck, I still would.

  8. And the great thing is that now Central Cinema can pick those adult-only evenings rather than have the state tell them that all evenings are adult-only evenings.

  9. I’m still curious what exactly it is about sitting in the same room as, say, a 17 year old while watching a movie (especially a kid’s movie like Hunger Games) that bothers you more than a 21 year old. Are they too loud? I’ve heard louder drunk adults than I have sober teenagers.

    If it’s just the feeling that you want to hang out with people similar to yourself, that’s fine. But there are other ways of getting there than hoping for bad state regulation.

    (oh and have you checked out the Big Picture in Belltown? it’s really nice)

  10. In general, I’ve found teenagers and younger kids to be louder and more disruptive during movies than older people. Certainly not always. Adults can be just as bad, or worse, especially while drinking. That’s for sure!

    Again, I’m not advocating a “no-kids” policy. Maybe a compromise for certain nights and shows?

  11. It seems to be going fine, and children should be allowed in at all times, the Christmas gathering was beautiful. But I will believe it is settled when it is finally settled. There are many old school state employees who see the CD in only one context and are trained to say NO.

  12. We still have several months of governmental process to go through until the laws are actually straightened out.
    What we were told by the Liquor Board is that we are allowed to have minors in the space after 11:00pm if we have last call and stop serving anything alcoholic by 11:00. Previously we were not allowed to stop serving if we were still open so the minors had to go.
    We are still being allowed to operate under our old Liquor License during our petitioning of the Board to change the Cinema rule. Currently the rule still stands that Cinemas serving alcohol must be 21+ at all times. I believe the Liquor Board understands our argument that the rules should apply to the venue and not the type of entertainment. When the Directors were here for their tour of the space they were able to see that the environment is supervised. The Liquor Board’s fear is alcohol in dark and unsupervised spaces typical of most Cinemas. They also see that the issue of fixing the rules is larger than just our Cinema. They admitted to playing catch-up as business models change faster than they can adapt the laws. I think this shows that they are making the effort to keep up with the times. If everything goes according to the typical process schedule we should have things resolved about July. I am pretty sure this is all going to work out in the end.

  13. The thing that drives me nuts about the liquor board is the basic distrust and contempt they show for the public.

    I can assure you that I, and everyone I know, would not tolerate a movie theatre where children were being given booze. If any normal person saw something like that, they would get the Manager. If the Manager didn’t do anything, they’d call the cops. There’s no need for a state agency to make up ridiculous what-if scenarios, other than to justify that which cannot be justified.

    Zoning and cops do what the liquor control board tries to do, both cheaper and more effectively. It’s insane that in an era where we are cutting back on education, public safety, health care, transportation, and many other basic services, there is an agency that cares about what sort of furniture a bar or restaurant has.