Chaparro Bill Permitting Alcohol in Many NJ Theaters Passes Full Assembly

A bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Chaparro that would permit the sale of alcohol in more theaters throughout the state cleared the full Assembly Monday, 73-0-0.

If signed into law, nonprofit organizations that regularly host theatrical and/or musical productions could apply for a license authorizing them to sell alcohol during their shows, in theaters with 50 or more seats.

The bill (A-1478) stipulates that this would only apply so long as admission was charged for the show and the venue itself was primarily used for said performances. As long as those criteria are met, municipalities would be allowed to issue a plenary retail consumption license ⁠— also known as a “theater license” ⁠— to these organizations.

This legislation would revise existing New Jersey law by decreasing the seating requirement for these licenses, as theaters currently have to seat 1,000 or more people in order to apply for a liquor license.

“Permitting smaller entertainment venues to serve alcohol during productions would help them compete with larger theaters. Increased attendance at these performances would also likely improve patronage at nearby businesses,” said Chaparro (D-Hudson). “This legislation is a great way to promote the arts throughout the state and support the nonprofit organizations that bring these concerts, musicals and plays to the people of New Jersey.”

The bill will now head to the Senate for further consideration.