Belly Up to the Jean Cocteau Cinema Bar

Casey St. Charnez - March 3, 2014

"As the first motion picture theater in New Mexico to serve liquor with the flickers, George RR Martin’s JCC offers a major new reason to get up and go out to the movies."

Hey, boys and girls, take note: A full bar debuts this week at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

As the first motion picture theater in New Mexico to serve liquor with the flickers, George RR Martin’s JCC offers a major new reason to get up and go out to the movies.

Especially this week, as the three-day celebration of the bar’s premiere includes free showings of seven features:

On Tuesday March 4th, the matinee is Charade (1963), the twice-nightly evening show is Back to the Future (1985), and the late show is Spider Baby (1964).

Wednesday March 4th has One-Eyed Jacks (1961), again Back to the Future, and then Plan Nine From Outer Space (1959).

Thursday March 6th features the Abbott and Costello Jack and the Beanstalk (1952), the final showings of Back to the Future, and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1963).

There’s more, and it’s also free.

Each of the three days spotlights a local producer of fine libations. Tuesday the Cocteau hosts Southern Wine & Spirits, Wednesday brings in Santa Fe Spirits, and Thursday presents Falcon Meader. The tastings are without charge. 

This cinematic saloon operates under the auspices of ace mixologist Nicole Ullerich.

Theater manager Jon Bowman told me, “Every week’s special will be different, and always tied in to a movie or live performance we’re offering.” The theater has been selling Game of Thrones beers from Brewery Ommegang for a while, and the expansion has been an inspiration to Ullerich. For instance, her special Minty Lee cocktail accompanied illusionist Misty Lee’s recent appearance, and she has also invented a Flux Capacitor concoction…

…which reminds me to mention that, in conjunction with Back to the Future, there will be a genuine DeLorean auto on display, complete with flux capacitor (which may or may not be operative), courtesy of obsessed BOTF fan, and FOG (Friend of George), novelist Ernest Cline.

Ever since the Cocteau re-opened last August, after a seven-year dormancy, the powers-that-be have worked long and hard to secure the license that would allow them to sell the hard stuff.

Originally, the intent was to acquire a beer-and-wine license. But, says Jon Bowman, the beer-and-wine is available “only to restaurants, and we didn’t have enough food sales to qualify. So we had to buy a full license, which George did.”

He adds, “Liquor is allowed in the auditorium. But we do not have curbside service in the hall. Patrons have to visit the bar to order, and show proof of ID. The only exception: Wait service is available in the VIP suite, where an Intercom connects directly with the bar.”

Ironically—or perhaps in a timely example of synchronicity—the JCC’s only impending downtown competition, the Violet Crown multiplex scheduled to open in the Railyard in late summer, had its groundbreaking last week, just as the Cocteau was announcing its concessions upgrade. However, Violet Crown is supposed to have a simple beer-and-wine menu in its café.

So, the Jean Cocteau Cinema has gotten there first, and with more.

Seems to me that they’ve raised the bar.