Mt Vernon Theater

Patrons of the Mt. Vernon Theatre could soon have the option of purchasing beer and wine at the historic establishment.

"The way I understand it, they just want to be able to serve beer and wine, no hard liquor," Tallassee Mayor Johnny Hammock said.

The application did mention an outdoor patio.

"To my knowledge, we don't have a patio permit or regulations to regulate that," Hammock said.

City attorney John Smith warned the council to carefully inspect the theatre board's request because the details are important.

"If they say one thing and the paperwork says something else, it's the paperwork that you have to go by," Smith said.

According to council members, the request included off-premises alcohol sales.

"It says on or off premises," council member Sarah Hill said.

However, Hammock assured the council the theatre wouldn’t act as a package store.

"I seriously doubt they will be selling bottles of wine to-go," Hammock said. "They may have submitted an application for on or off (premises) but I promise you it's just going to be times when they have a concert in there and someone wants a glass of wine or a beer."

In addition, this would allow the theatre to sell beer and wine during special events without having to ask the council for permission to do so each time the occasion arises.

"I think they want to avoid jumping through these hoops with every special event they have," Hammock explained. "They want to get it, have it on the books so they will not have to come to us every time."

Hammock also pointed out dram shop laws in the state.

"It's their responsibility to be a responsible vendor," Hammock said. "I hope they know what they are getting themselves into."

In Alabama, anybody hurt by a drunk person can sue a person who sold or gave liquor to the drunk person and caused his or her intoxication. Alabama follows the rule of joint and several liabilities, so the alcohol vendor may be held responsible for 100 percent of the damages.

The council voted in favor of the request. Now the theatre board will have to submit an application to sell liquor to the Alabama ABC board.