Drinking in New York movie theaters has always been controversial. A Prohibition-era state law prohibits film goers from imbibing in front of the big screen, but that didn’t stop one theater from changing the game. Back in 2011, after lobbying for the repeal of this ancient law, Nitehawk opened in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood and became the first theater in the city to provide a full in-theater menu and seat-side service. The catch—they had to have a full restaurant on site, which has become the exception to the rule.
Since Nitehawk paved the way, more full-service cinemas have popped up all over the city, providing people with the boozy movie-going experience they’ve always wanted. Here, five of our favorites and what you should sip while catching a flick.
Editor’s note: While there are additional movie theaters in NYC with on-site bars and restaurants, they don’t allow guests to bring drinks and food into the theater. To that we say, what’s the point? This list only includes theaters that actually let you imbibe in front of the big screen.