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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning


"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Popcorn and a Coors light

Schenectady leaders have annouced plans to build a new downtown movie theater complex, complete with beer and wine sales:
The Bow Tie Cinema and Office Complex will be at the corner of Broadway and State Streets with six screens and over a thousand seats. The owners of Bow Tie cinemas want to bring "style and elegance" back to movie going, possibly including the sales of beer and wine at the films.
I'm happy about the theaters. Sounds good. But three points on the beer:

1) Who wants a glass of wine or a beer at the movie theater? Not me. This isn't central Europe. I can't ever think of a time I was at a movie and said to myself, "you know, i could really go for a beer right now. Actually, a glass of white zin would hit the spot. I really just need a drink." I suppose you'll get the drunks, the college kids, and the yuppies looking for a novelty, but most likely it will be like those deli shops that have beer out for sale but no one ever buys it.

2) Who in the world makes the association between "sales of beer" and "style and elegence?" I mean, seriously - sophmores at Union? Sure, the wine could be classy - but remember that it'll probably be served in paper cups, not wine glasses. And forget corkscrews. This is a straight twist-off scene. Paging Mad Dog 20/20!

3) How much do you think a bottle of budweiser is going to cost? Again, seriously. If they stuck with typical restuarant economics, a beer should be about 2 or 3 times the cost of a soda, which at Crossgates now starts at $4.50 and goes up by size. And you better break the piggy bank for a glass of red wine. Good lord!

I could probably write 10,000 words on how ridiculous this is. Sometimes I worry about finding great SmAlbany grist in the paper every day. But then they go do things like this.

Ahhh, Schenectady, you've done it again.
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At 5:54 AM , Blogger Charles said:

Oh come now Matt:

This is a niche that should do well. The draw for me, quite frankly, is that that alcahol sales will keep the kids away from it. Ever try to enjoy a movie and cant because of howing kids and rotten teen agers? I have. Besides the nasty popcorn its the reason I will not go to Cinema 1004 at the Mall.

I used to go to the Off Broadway theater and grill in Saratoga but I think that it closed now so they will have no real competition.

The other part of the equation is that movie theaters do not make any money off of the films, they make it off of the consession stand. As there is a large mark up on booze it should be financially viable, unlike the old Madison (which a new owener picked up dirt cheap after it was on the market for ever), the Cine 10, the Cinema 12 in Crossgates and others.

The fact is that movie going has dropped off significantly and they have to find something to get people to come.    



At 8:57 PM , Anonymous Tom said:

Matt, I disagree. It could be done correctly. Madison, WI has a theater that serves beer, and it works out perfectly. For some reason, though, the costs have been kept low. A movie costs $4 even though they are first run deals, and a beer (Leinenkugel's) costs $2. You don't find people drinking a ton of beer there, but you do find people sitting down with a cold one. It's nice. They also have ice cream, which is a huge plus.

Further proof for my theory that except for the deadly hippie/regular person ratio, Madison, WI is a great town.    



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