Basie Center Cinemas Now Only Movie Theater Offering Alcohol to Patrons

While popcorn paired with a soda are the usual libations served at movie theaters, the Basie Center Cinemas in Red Bank are offering patrons something a little stronger.

Starting today (May 7), Basie Center Cinemas, located on White Street in Red Bank, will begin serving alcoholic beverages to patrons aged 21+.

The cinema is now permitted to serve alcohol following the signing of a 2023 law allowing licenses for nonprofit movie theaters dedicated to promoting the performing arts.

In addition to showcasing the latest in Hollywood fare, Basie Center Cinemas is also home to open mic comedy nights, film festivals, the region’s longest-running late-night interactive screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Improv Jam, a monthly night of off-the-cuff live comedy. Basie Center Cinemas is also available to rent for birthday parties, corporate gatherings or other private events.

“Basie Center Cinemas is now the only area indie movie house that can offer patrons a glass of wine, a local craft beer or a cool, canned cocktail to accompany their feature presentation,” said Izzy Sackowitz, Chief Operating Officer of the Count Basie Center organization.

The cinema will also feature products from hyper-local purveyors, including area craft breweries and wineries, he added.

Count Basie Center officials have long regarded a liquor license as a lifeline for the historic movie theater, which has shown films since at least the 1950s. Like most cinema operations, Basie Center Cinemas has struggled in the post-COVID area – but now, with the opportunity to offer something unique to patrons, optimism is high that Basie Center Cinemas can do even more to promote film, comedy and other types of performances

“We’ll be announcing a Hispanic heritage film festival in coming weeks, along with other events to bring new patrons into the cinema,” Sackowitz added. “This is indeed a lifeline for us, and we intend to do all we can to activate this historic space.”  


Wednesday 5/8: Half-Priced Wednesdays with reduced admission to Fall Guy (Ryan Gosling, Emily Blunt; rated PG-13; 7:15PM) and Challengers (Zendaya, Josh O’Connor; rated R; 7:15PM)

Thursday 5/9Challengers (4PM), The Fall Guy (3:45PM, 7PM),Improv Jam (7:30PM)

This weekendFall Guy continues, along with Wicked Little Letters (Olivia Colman, Jessie Buckley; R) 

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