Adult patrons at the new Horizon Cinemas movie theater in Aberdeen will have the option of buying an alcoholic beverage to drink while watching a film, following the Harford County Liquor Control Board’s approval of a liquor license for the theater Wednesday.
The board members approved the movie theater license, which allows beer, wine and liquor sales on site, by a 4-0 vote during their meeting at the LCB headquarters in downtown Bel Air on Wednesday morning — Commissioner Frederic Merchant was absent.
Bel Air attorney Joseph Snee appeared on behalf of Horizon Cinemas during the board’s meeting Wednesday, along with company representatives Kathryn Dailey and Erica and Teresa Wienholt. The board’s approval of the liquor license was contingent upon approval of the theater’s final use and occupancy permit, which Snee noted his clients expect to receive Friday at the latest.
Alcohol sales also are permitted at Horizon Cinemas’ theater in Fallston. The liquor board approved that theater’s license, the first movie theater liquor license issued in Harford County, in 2017.
The Aberdeen theater, which has eight screens and more than 550 seats, passed inspections such as those required by the local health department and fire marshal’s office, and received a temporary use and occupancy permit last week prior to the soft opening March 6, according to Snee.
The theater was constructed within the building that previously housed a Mars supermarket in the Aberdeen Marketplace shopping center at Beards Hill Road and Route 22. The theater includes, in addition to the eight auditoriums, a concession stand, kitchen area, party room for events such as children’s birthday parties and a separate bar area in the lobby.
Dailey, who also is a manager at the Fallston theater, said “the bar is always in full view” of staffers. She noted the party rooms are typically locked if not in use.
Drinks at the Aberdeen theater can be purchased between 4 p.m. and midnight, and patrons can only buy them one at a time, with a two-drink maximum, according to Dailey and Snee. The operators also plan to be strict about asking for identification to ensure only people 21 and older purchase alcoholic drinks.
“If you look to be under the age of 40, you’ll be carded,” Snee said.
Scott Baker, general manager of the liquor board, asked how theater operators will ensure older patrons do not share drinks with minors while watching the movie, or buy drinks for them at the bar.
Snee noted that staff make “constant patrols” around the theater to ensure patrons follow alcohol regulations.
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“That is being done in Fallston, and it will be done in Aberdeen,” he said.