According to an article in today’s San Diego Union-Tribune, a movie theater in Oceanside has filed for a license to serve beer at screenings. The ABC is quoted as saying there are currently three other such theaters in the state, two in L.A. and one in Oakland. I’ve been to the one in Oakland, the Parkway Theater, several times when I used to live there a few years back, and it was great fun. They also have pizza and subs to eat and bring your food directly to your seat. You can buy pints or pitchers of about half a dozen craft beers. They also serve a number of wines, too. The theatre itself has sofas, comfy chairs and tables scattered about the hall. If you want a good spot, like a sofa, you have to get there early because it’s very popular. They also have a baby brigade night where infants are welcome and we took Porter there when he was very little. It’s very family oriented that night but otherwise is over-21 only. I really like the place and was unaware of any problems with such a place.
So I was surprised by two things in the piece about the San Diego theatre trying a similar idea. First, supposedly they’ve gotten a lot of protests about it. Apparently the way the place is laid out, it will be fairly easy to make a section of the multiplex adults-only and that’s the only place alcohol will be served. Naturally, that’s still not good enough for the neo-prohibitionists who are coming out in droves to complain. These people will not be satisfied until alcohol is once again made illegal, despite what a disaster it was the last time we tried it. They’re still worried young people might be able to get their hands on it. Gasp. I am so sick to death of these people. If you don’t want to drink, don’t. Stop pretending this is about protecting the children and admit it’s just about wanting to push your beliefs on the rest of us. For a country that was supposedly founded on the idea of freedom, it constantly amazes me how so many people see nothing wrong with trying to restrict their fellow citizens from doing whatever they find personally distasteful. Please, live your own life however you want and leave the rest of us alone.
The second thing I found disturbing was even more troubling. A spokesperson for the local police is quoted as saying the “Oceanside Police Department routinely objects to any new liquor license.” (my emphasis.) What!?! Why would they do that? Is that their job? That would be an emphatic no. It’s the job of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Department to approve or deny applications. The police’s job is to enforce the law, not determine policy or meddle with how a state agency does their job. But to say they object to “any” is the same as saying they object to every single application. And that is overstepping their authority by leaps and bounds, in my opinion. Not only that, “[b]ut in this case, [the police spokesperson] said yesterday, both the police chief and the city manager have asked that the protest be more vigorous.” Huh!?! Are we told why in their opinion a more vigorous protest would be appropriate? Nope, not one whiff of evidence is offered for the police taking such a position. The author of this story seems to just take it for granted that her readers will accept such a position without evidence. She probably knows her audience better than I do, but I’m more than a little frightened that there are places where such a statement can be made and accepted without comment.
So if you live in San Diego and this beer and wine license is approved, please patronize this theater. Not only do we have to be vigilant against the big brewery attacks on craft beer, but also the neo-prohibitionist attacks on all alcoholic beverages. These people are scary, especially when they get an imprimatur from local government and law enforcement. We have to remind these people that beer is legal and that we have the right to openly enjoy it. And that’s a right that needs to be protected.