On Monday, July 16th, the Board of Selectmen approved a beer and wine license for the Capitol Theatre in Arlington, after a 4-1 town-wide vote. The move to allow beer and wine licenses in movie theaters has been an on-going effort for more than a year, and was approved by a town vote through use of a special ballot question at the town’s election in April of this year.

Board Chairman, Kevin Greely, stated that the Board granted the license to the already popular movie theater to foster further business within the town of Arlington. Such a license is authorized under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 138 § 12, which allows certain establishments to obtain an on-premises license with the approval of the local municipality’s licensing board and the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC). This statute extends to establishments such as restaurants, hotels, clubs and other general on-premises establishments such as bowling alleys and movie theaters.

Despite the Town of Arlington’s vote in favor of the license, many neighboring residents to the theater stand opposed, seeing the availability of alcoholic beverages at such an establishment as problematic. One Board Selectman, Diane Mahon, joined these residents in opposition to the grant of Capitol’s license. Mahon views this legislative grant with skepticism, since unlike a bar or club, minors constitute the majority of business traffic in a movie theater. Yet Board Chairman Greely assured that, “if a child or teenager is served in the Capitol, [the owner] will lose that license.” Any service to a minor or any other violation made by Capitol will result in a suspension or revocation of the theater’s right to serve alcohol.



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