You're in a packed movie theater. It's opening night of a big blockbuster. People are shuffling through the aisles, looking for their friends, standing on tiptoe to find a block of empty seats. Everyone's getting settled in. Trailers are about to start. People are keyed up. Out of nowhere, the crack of aluminum separating from aluminum cuts through the din of the crowd. Some asshole has opened a can in the cinema.
It me. I’m that asshole. The one who sneaks beer into the movies.
I know this practice is not allowed. The Germans have a word for this and that word is verboten. But to be perfectly honest with you, that’s part of what I really dig about it. It’s one of those things I can do on a regular basis to stick it to the man. To take a dump on the lawn of corporate America.
(A quick note that I've never snuck beers into an independent theater. They’ve got it tough enough as is, and I support them as often as possible. You should, too.)
Also, there was an incident a couple years ago when I found a few AMC locations that were serving “20-ounce beers” in 16-ounce cups, so I figure sneaking some in whenever I go to one of those establishments helps achieve a certain level of balance. But also? Fuck those guys. That’s super shady!
[Editor's note: Kyle carries around a lot of anger. Mostly in his shoulders, but also in his fingers, which he uses to type these posts.]
Anti-establishment ideals aside, it’s simply not easy to get quality beer at the cinema. A lot of theaters have a done a pretty decent job of late by bringing in more options. I see lots of Sam Adams and New Belgium and Lagunitas handles as I walk by, and I'm content to never purchase any of them.
Those breweries make outstanding beer. The theaters just bastardize it.
I’ve found most theater chain draft systems to be poorly maintained—dirty lines, not pushing enough gas, manned by somebody who’s going to dunk the faucet as far as possible into the beer before they pull it away lickety-split to try and create some semblance of a head.
Bringing your own beer also affords you the opportunity to pair your brew with the movie you’re seeing. When I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi, I took in a six-pack of Jackie O’s Java the Stout. That’s a little thing we in the industry call ~SYNERGY~. Just kidding, nobody calls it that.
When I went to see Phantom Thread (for the third time), I brought a can of wine, 'cause I’m fancy like that. On the flip side, when I saw Blockers, I took a few tallboy cans of Coors Banquet on account of the fact that if I had to buttchug a bunch of beers with John Cena, Banquet would be my buttchugging beer of choice.
Now, getting the beers into the theater is no easy feat, especially if you’re a person that doesn’t carry a purse. I’m lucky enough to have a partner with bags of all shapes and sizes, including one that is specifically reserved for movie beers.
If you don’t have that, or you’re going alone, I recommend hoodies—you can get a can or two in that front pocket pretty easy. Raincoats work well, too. In the winter, heavy parkas are a no-holds barred opportunity to sneak in a 12-pack. You can do it. I believe in you.
Pro-tip: In the warmer months, garments like hoodies and coats work even better if you’re carrying them instead of wearing them. After all, even if it’s hot outside, it can get pretty cold in the theater.
Whatever you do, don’t get caught. And if you do, don’t blame me.