Ever enjoyed a beer or glass of wine while watching a movie at the Flicks Theater? According to Lt. Bob Clements of the Idaho State Police Alcohol Beverage Control, you "have gotten used to doing something illegal by statute." Because both minors and libations are allowed in Boise's premier independent cinema, Clements said the Flicks has been slipping under the radar for years. Live performances--not movie theaters--are allowed to serve alcohol, Clements said. Some solutions he suggested were creating over-21-only theaters or posting age limits at certain theaters during showings. He said he could also challenge the Flicks' beer and alcohol license by inquiring, "Are they really a bonified restaurant for the purposes of having an alcoholic beverage license?" He said he hopes it doesn't come to that.
But here's the complicated part: Flicks owner Carole Skinner said the theater isn't breaking any law. "The whole premises is a restaurant," she insists. By Idaho law, minors and alcohol can cohabitate in restaurants (as well as, quaintly enough, a "railroad observation or club car"). As anyone who has scarfed the Flicks' brie panini knows, their grub is on a different plane than popcorn and Jujubes at the multiplex. However, Skinner admits the current laws are open to varying readings. "The legislature could clarify the rule that's already existing," she suggested. "The people at Alcohol Beverage Control feel they need to interpret the law, but if the law were made clearer, they wouldn't have to interpret."
Clemens agreed--sort of. "If they want alcohol in theaters, the state or citizens will have to fix the law," he said. Clements admitted Idaho law does not define "dining area," but he explained, "If you look at the common thought of what a dining room is, the primary standard acceptable purpose is to sit down and eat meals. They're there [at the Flicks] to watch movies, and bringing in trays to make it a dining area is secondary to that." The disagreement between the two sides is pretty fundamental--luckily, until it is settled, the Flicks will be allowed to serve beer and wine in the theaters.