It’s set to be a big summer in cinema. In July alone, the seventh installment in the “Mission Impossible” saga arrives and the highly anticipated “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” films are scheduled to hit theaters on the exact same day. As theatergoers buy up limited-edition merch and solidify their double-feature strategy, they may also want to make plans for securing an adult beverage for the ideal cinematic experience.
It isn’t uncommon to encounter a full bar alongside the concessions counter these days. Theaters, though, haven’t always been permitted to serve pints — in fact, the concept was once strongly discouraged, and theaters were sometimes legally restricted dry zones. But in recent years, tides have changed from state to state, as well as chain to chain. Some companies have launched dining services that allow viewers to order a Margarita without leaving their seat in front of the silver screen, while others have designed their own chain-specific bars where ticket holders can sip a beer before the trailers roll.
That said, you might be wondering if you’ll be able to venture to Barbieland with a Cosmo in hand at your go-to theater. Keep reading to learn the details about drinking at every major theater chain:
The largest theater chain in the world also serves up some of the most solid bar service. AMC Theatres introduced its full-service MacGuffins Bar at a handful of locations around 2010. The bars are typically located in the theater’s lobby and offer a variety of alcoholic beverages, pub appetizers, and entrees. Guests are invited to stop and enjoy a cocktail after a movie, but some localities don’t allow moviegoers to bring drinks into the theater.
While MacGuffins Bar is available in some 300 locations nationwide, you won’t find drinks service in every AMC lobby, so check your location’s website before heading over.
Regal Theatres boasts bars in over 80 locations across 22 states and allows visitors to bring their drinks to their seats to enjoy. Expect your standard, moderately priced bar lineup including fruit-flavored Margaritas, classic Mules, and Aperol Spritzes.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
This non-traditional theater is the obvious choice for anyone looking to kick back with a Chard during a showing. Founded in 1997 with a single outpost in Austin, Texas, this now-chain offers an elevated in-theater food and beverage service — including boozy milkshakes, cocktails, draft pints, and more — during each screening. A notoriously strict etiquette policy ensures a peaceful experience. There’s a handful of Alamo Drafthouse locations across the United States, including theaters in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and Boston.
Beer, seltzer, and wine are on the menu at select Cineplex locations. Spirits-based cocktails and neat pours aren’t offered at this theater chain, so it’s best suited for those content with sipping a White Claw or macro-lager alongside classic concession fare.
The theater’s Take Five Lounge pairs on-theme cocktails — like the “Jurassic Island” or “Maze Runner” — with appetizers. The chain has 25 Take Five Lounge locations across the U.S., with elevated in-seat beverage service at select locations. Similar to Regal Theaters, Marcus’s menu includes a lineup of specialty drinks, tap beers, canned beers, and wine.
Sparkling rosé, anyone? Select Cinemark Theaters offer a variety of red, white, and sparkling wines. You can also peruse a menu of draft and bottled beers, frozen drinks, and specialty libations in the select Cinemark lobbies. The chain doesn’t disclose exactly how many locations serve alcohol, but it does note available services for each individual location.