If you’ve been to any AMC theater lately, you’ve probably noticed they serve booze now. The little bar areas near the entrance come with the inside-joke name of MacGuffins (A MacGuffin is any plot device that motivates the characters and advances the story, be it a Ring of Power or a mysterious glowing suitcase). MacGuffins sounds like an Irish pub, but it’s really a clever movie pun.
These mini-bars serve not just beer and wine, but full cocktails, some of which are created specifically for the movie franchise in question. AMC had the “Twig and Berries” drink for Deadpool 2 (and yes, it’s intended to recall exactly what dirty thoughts you’re thinking); two drink options when The Last Jedi came out — a blue Jedi drink vs a red Sith drink, each with tiny glowing lightsabers; a dino-themed bevvie when Jurassic World 2 was showing; a creepy cool Venom drink most recently; plus a ton of other interesting creations that I’m personally too broke to order. 🙂
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None of the beverages are what you’d call a great deal. The draft beers offer the most bang for your $7-$9 bucks with full pours, and there seem to be about five taps, with one rotating seasonal option, and usually an Angry Orchard Cider to boot. The wines are kind of expensive for what you get, hovering between $7 to $14, depending on whether you get a half glass or a full. The specialty cocktails generally run around $13 and up. The prices do fluctuate in different cities. On an recent trip to Florida, I found I could get a super large brew for around $10, making it a better deal than two $7 beverages.
So, they’re not so cheap, and there’s no happy hour, but it’s nice during a long movie to be able to sip on something more grown-up than a soda. I’ve noticed that a typical-sized beer can be nursed through a three hour movie. Usually I’m too caught up in the film to remember there’s a drink handy. But I like having the option. It still feels like a novelty. Remember the line in Pulp Fiction that you could get a real beer at the movies in Europe? Well, we have them now too.
One nice thing about MacGuffins is they usually have a couple of stools at the bar, and often some bistro tables to sit at with friends. This is really nice if you’re early for a movie and waiting for it to start, or if you’re seeing more than one film and want a convivial place to hang. An extra plus: there’s usually no line to order, unlike the overcrowded, chaotic popcorn/hot dog/soda concession stands. It’s a much more peaceful affair.
I’ve been to an Edwards Theater recently, and there was no bar. I’m so used to those being around now that it seems weird to not have a MacGuffins at hand. When you think about it, it’s a little crazy for the other movie chains to miss out on that extra income. I assume Regal, Harkins, and Edwards will probably follow suit from AMC’s example at some point. They’re just throwing easy money away if they don’t.
Anyway, of course, having beverages of ANY sort turns into a trial of holding your full bladder, to the point where you kind of want the characters to die and get over it — just so you can run to the bathroom and relax again. Seriously.
However, since there’s the faithful RunPee app, this is no longer a problem. Yeah, I’m going to plug RunPee here.
RunPee exists to service your bladder. The app (on both iPhone and Android phones) discretely vibrates when its to time go to the bathroom during all the wide release movies, every week and every year, and for the last ten years.
There’s usually between 2 to 4 “Peetimes” — depending on movie length — and the app provides a synopsis of what you’ve missed during the 3 to 5 minutes it takes to run out, do your business, and get back. There are Recommended Peetimes, Emergency Peetimes, and even Alert Peetimes (which warn you if there’s a unpleasant sort of scene coming up, like something featuring torture). The “Extra Scene” feature is very popular, telling you if you need to wait during the end credits or not.
In any case, RunPee goes together very well with MacGuffin’s beers, wines, and cocktails. You can’t pause a movie, but now you don’t have to worry about when to go, or if you should just sit there in agony. 🙂
I think a good idea for AMC’s next iteration would be an upscale barista counter. It would be nice to get a latte during an evening show.
Have you seen the MacGuffins bars? Do you think this is a good idea for movie theaters, and have you ever ordered anything?
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Co-Creator of RunPee, Chief of Operations, Content Director, and Managing Editor. RunPee Jilly likes galaxy-spanning sci fi, superhero sagas, fantasy films, YA dystopians, action thrillers, chick flicks, and zany comedies, in that order…and possesses an inspiringly small bladder. In fact, that little bladder sparked the creation of RunPee. (Good thing she’s learned to hold it.)