Renovated Senator Theatre gets OK to sell alcohol

The Senator Theatre and its adjoining small-plates restaurant, Bar Zini, will be authorized to sell alcohol when it reopens in the coming months, after a Baltimore licensing board voted Thursday to approve its application.

The Rosebank theater, closed since April 2012, is undergoing more than $3 million in renovations, including the addition of the nearly 100-seat Mediterranean restaurant, according to co-owners Kathleen Cusack Lyon and her father, James "Buzz" Cusack. The theater will expand to four screens with room for 770 guests.


Cusack, who also owns the Charles Theater, called the restoration process tedious. Finishing touches include installation of metal leaf gilding, restoration of a mural, original rotunda ceiling colors and refurbished woodwork.

Restaurateur David Sherman said Bar Zini would have "great, bold flavors, a lot of energy" and be "a fun, casual place." Drinks will include classic cocktails, seasonal drinks, microbrewed beers and eclectic wines, he said.

Outdoor seating for 56 people is also planned.

City Councilman Bill Henry said the community is excited for the Senator's reopening.

"It will bring hundreds if not thousands of people to the area every week, watching first-run movies and then spilling out into the other restaurants and stores in the area," Henry said. "I think it will bring jobs and business into North Baltimore."

Additional city inspections are pending.

A date for the reopening hasn't been determined.