“It’s not the worst thing spilled on our bar,” one of the servers said about the drink that didn’t stay in the cup. “I’ve had a lot of popcorn there, and we don’t even sell it [at the bar].”
I wasn’t sure if she was slamming popcorn, but I’ll admit damp popcorn is not a pleasant thing, and it’s certainly messy to clean up. You expect to find popcorn at a movie theater, of course, but why can’t there be cocktails, too? We went to the bar in a Regal Cinema (Fresno’s a Regal Cinemas town, so we can’t maintain our former prejudices against the chain).
We’re all aware we live in a deeply divided nation. Everyone seems to need to choose one side or the other, and people often treat those on the opposing side with spite and derision. I try to stay away from polarizing topics in this blog, but I guess I need to be open about where I’m coming from.
DC and Marvel, my family has been on the side of Spidey and Wolverine. I’m proud to say, “Make mine Marvel!” We take every opportunity to see a Stan Lee cameo, so we went to see Black Panther on the eve of the official opening. Our son Bret, who came with us, graciously agreed to guard our theater seats (they’re not assigned at the Edwards 22) while we went to the bar.
ABC regulators apparently keep a watchful eye.
I overheard another bartender tell a patron, “The camera is always watching.” With the wristband, you have a three drink limit, one drink at a time. You can’t order a drink for anyone else, but you can take a drink to the theater, so…remember, the camera is always watching.
Mindy ordered a Sweet and Smoky Old Fashioned. The bartender said she liked it, and also mentioned that it was one of the few drinks that couldn't be made by the Smartender, an automated cocktail dispenser. Instead, the bartenders put the drink together from scratch. "Handcrafted with love," Mindy said.
Regal has a rewards program for movie ticket and snack bar purchases, but you can’t present your rewards card at the bar. You can get around it by entering information from your receipt onto your awards account online.
Sarah, one of the three bartenders working during the pre-movie rush, said people were “so happy to have a bar here.” (I can imagine the relief of parents dragged to, say, The Emoji Movie, to know they could order a drink. Or two. Or three. No more. Those are the rules.)
We also had an opportunity to ask Tori, one of the bartenders, our questions. She said a good bar relied on the atmosphere, as well as good drinks. I asked what made a movie theater bar different.
During the movie, T’Challa drank a beverage that gave him superpowers. Another drink took those powers away. Neither of those drinks was on the menu of the bar at the Regal, but the cocktails we ordered were tasty and served with alacrity -- which was super enough.