British Columbia

Fifth Avenue Cinemas now serving alcohol, no kids allowed

Youth under 19 are no longer allowed at Vancouver's Fifth Avenue Cinemas, which has added a bar and restaurant as part of a $2-million upgrade.

Youth under 19 no longer allowed as theatre caters to a more mature crowd

Along with the normal popcorn-and-candy concession, Fifth Avenue Cinemas now features a bar and restaurant for its over-19 clientele. (CBC)

Vancouver's Fifth Avenue Cinemas has joined the list of theatres serving alcohol to movie-goers, meaning youth under 19 are no longer allowed at one of the city's largest theatres.

The Burrard Street movie house, which was bought by Cineplex in 2013, unveiled its $2-million renovation Oct. 16, including a restaurant, bar, and high-backed leather seats in all theatres.

The result is adults-only, not just for service at the bar but for movies too.

"Families with children in Vancouver are more than  welcome to visit one of our other five theatres in downtown Vancouver," said Sarah Van Lange, a communications director for Cineplex Entertainment.

"It's not just about the opportunity to have a beer with your movie. It's also a more refined or mature movie-going experience."

Van Lange said local food and drinks will be on offer, including beer from Dead Frog Brewery, charcuterie from Jackson's Meats and Deli, and desserts from Earnest Ice Cream.

Dinner and a movie in one spot

A sign at Fifth Avenue Cinemas in Vancouver advertises the new policy — no youth under 19 — now that the theatre serves alcohol. (CBC)
Film critic Katherine Monk said the move makes sense at a theatre like Fifth Avenue, which tends to play art films rather than kid-friendly blockbusters.

Beer and wine have been common in European theatres for years, and Monk sees the trend in Canadian movie houses as a play for audience — to make a night at the movies a special occasion.

"Attendance is down and attendance keeps trending down, so they keep coming up with new ways to get people interested. The idea that this is an experience that you can't exactly duplicate online, downloading BitTorrent."

Another Vancouver venue that offers alcohol, the Rio Theatre at Broadway and Commercial, makes that goal explicit with its slogan, "An Experience You Can't Download."

However, the Rio has an all ages balcony, separated from bar service, to allow younger patrons to attend.

With files from Farrah Merali


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