The Okanagan Screen Arts Society has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help save Vernon's historic Towne Cinema, which opened at its current 30th Avenue location as a dance hall in 1929 and was converted to a movie theatre in 1938. (GoFundMe photo)

UPDATE: Vernon supports theatre’s move to serve liquor at the movies

Drinks and a movie could be coming soon to the historic Towne Theatre

Wine, beer and spirits may soon be added to the menu at the Vernon Towne Theatre as its new operators are applying for a primary liquor licence.

The Okanagan Screen Arts Society have served alcohol during its Monday night film screenings from 2017 to 2020 without issue and is now looking to obtain a permanent licence after taking over the historic theatre on Aug. 1.

“The liquor primary licence will be an added amenity for the business and enhance the downtown area drawing in foot traffic,” the society said in its letter of intent.

If permitted, alcohol would be allowed in the lobby and more than 400-person auditorium on adult nights from 2-11 p.m. During all-ages events, alcohol would not be served or only be allowed in the lobby.

The city of Vernon has advised the Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch this application is supported as no change to noise and traffic levels are expected.

“The Vernon Towne Theatre has been established in the city of Vernon for almost 100 years,” a city staff report reads. “The facility is well managed and has not generated any nuisance bylaw complaints in the past. The proposed liquor licence is not expected to cause any negative community impacts.”

Support for the application to diversify Vernon’s hospitality venues was submitted by four members of the public.

“Here at the Bean Scene, we are all completely supportive of the Towne Theatre getting its liquor licence,” reads a letter from the theatre’s neighbour. “We believe that it will allow them to soar to their full potential, as well as appeal to a wide range of clientele.

“If you can have a beer at a hockey game, then why not at the theatre?”

Lake Monster Studio Architecture and Design principal architect Kimberly Fuller also submitted an enthusiastic letter of support and even recommended the licence hours be extended past 11 p.m. on weekends.

“So excited for this organization and happy that it will add live music to its roster,” Fuller wrote. “A much-needed program in our downtown.”

READ MORE: Curtain finally opens for Vernon’s historic Towne Theatre

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