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South Forsyth movie theater gets approval to sell beer

SOUTH FORSYTH — If you go to the movies at The Collection at Forsyth next year, turn off your cell phone, pick up some popcorn and grab a cold one.

Starting in early 2015, the cinema will be allowed to sell beer, wine or spirits to movie-goers.

The development came about Thursday after the Forsyth County commission approved an alcohol license for AMC Avenue Forsyth 12 on Peachtree Parkway. 

“The way the program works is a ticketed guest only will be able to purchase and consume the alcoholic beverage within the movie theater,” said Frank Lewis, AMC beverage director. “There will be a concession area in the lobby separate from the normal concessions.”

Lewis said the bars typically served about 1.1 drinks per customer, and were kept low in order to preserve the movie-watching experience.

“Typically, we’re somewhere near 10 percent [of food and beverage sales] in alcohol,” he said. “Purposefully, we keep that at a fairly small amount. And the big reason because it needs to be an amenity.

“Most venues that serve alcohol it’s really about people loosening up and engaging socially or being loud and rowdy at sporting events.”

Lewis went on to say that company officials realize the “need to respect the movie-going experience first.”

“And so, based on what we do, we really try to limit the guests on the alcohol they consume and the drinks they get.”

The bar still needs to be built — a five-week process — and staff trained, but Lewis said it likely would open within two months. “My guess is … sometime in late January early February.”

The name of the watering hole within AMC theaters, McGuffins Bar and Lounge, is taken from a term by Alfred Hitchcock that describes the desired object in a movie.

There are McGuffins across the country, including four in Georgia.

“We’re in training in our 93rd location right now,” Lewis said. “We have these in 21 states across the America, including all over the metro Atlanta area.”