Highland Park approves theater liquor sales

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Renaissance Place Cinema manager Shawn Machula talks in October about the new technology upgrades that will take place in the theater. On Monday, Landmark Theaters moved a step closer to selling alcohol in the venue. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media

HIGHLAND PARK — Patrons of the Landmark Theater in Highland Park’s Renaissance Place soon may be able to imbibe while taking in a movie.

At the theater’s request, the Highland Park City Council created a new class of liquor license Monday to allow the sale of alcoholic beverages in the lobby area of an indoor movie theater. According to the city, the theater is planning to invest more than $1 million in renovations at the Renaissance Place location, 1850 Second Street, and wants to prepare and serve food and beverages on the premises.

Landmark Theaters already serves liquor, for consumption on the premises, at 14 other locations.

“It creates more of a ‘night out’ experience,” explained James Kirsch, the City Council’s liaison to the liquor control commission. “We are all thrilled that companies continue to invest in Highland Park because they understand the dynamic place that it is.”

The Landmark’s Renaissance Place Cinema would still need to apply for the new Class T license and pay the $2,500 annual fee.

The new license carries a number of restrictions. Alcoholic beverages may only be sold in the lobby area and cannot be sold within the seating area of the theaters. Only one alcoholic beverage may be sold to one person at a time, and each beverage is limited to 12 ounces for beer, five ounces for wine and 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

The council also amended its Class H, or hotel, liquor license to allow the sale of alcohol within the common areas of the hotel designated for the consumption of food and beverages. The previous hotel liquor license limited sales to liquor consumed in guest rooms.

The newly-renovated Courtyard by Marriott recently added dinner service in its bistro lobby area and beverage service that includes beer, wine and cocktails.