Lincoln City Council was supposed to make a decision on a liquor license approval for the Grand Theatre that would allow them to serve alcohol to customers, but controversy surrounding the issue has that on hold.
A Feb. 24 date has been set for Marcus Theatres, the group that owns the Grand, to meet with the city's Internal Liquor Committee to continue discussing details about their application. With a final decision expected by March 3, there are still a lot of questions to be answered.
"This is just an enhancement of the food and beverage services by a responsible license holder," said Tim O'Neil, an attorney representing Marcus Theatres.
But people in opposition to the liquor license at Monday's city council meeting say they're not sold on the idea.
"Personally an professionally, I think this is a really bad idea," said Lincoln-Lancaster County Human Services Administrator, Kit Boesch.
Some say it sends the wrong message to kids.
"Now we're saying that we can't watch a 2 hour movie and have fun without having a beer," said Lincoln Resident, Richard Halvorson.
O'Neil and the Grand Theater Manager Brian Shander explained to city council members why they think offering alcoholic beverages would be beneficial to an expanding downtown area. But their comments were met with skepticism. Marcus says with successful implementation in cities like Omaha without any violations, their track record speaks for itself.
"They will take the steps to ID, they will have different cups, they will monitor during the movie, and they will monitor when you go in to give your ticket," said O'Neil. "Marcus is going to obey every law, ordinance, and regulation that's applied to them and they will not violate them."
But critics say allowing drinking in movie theatres sends the wrong message to kids.
"Maybe I don't take a kid that's 15 to 17 years old to a movie that starts at 9 p.m., is going to end at 11:30 p.m., and people are going to be drinking for two and a half hours," O'Neil said.
But with secret shoppers to monitor alcohol abuse and strict regulation, Marcus says they're just trying to stay competitive with a changing market.
"You have to draw those people out that like to sit and have a cocktail and watch a movie," said O'Neil.
The attorney representing Marcus Theatres said that while the city council does not have the power make the final decision, their say will have a large impact on whether the state will grant the license.