By Associated Press - Sunday, February 14, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Bismarck officials have tightened a city liquor ordinance to exclude serving wine and beer in movie theaters.

The Bismarck City Commission approved the stricter definition of Class F and I licenses Tuesday after Carmike Theaters applied for a liquor license under the original city liquor ordinance, the Bismarck Tribune ( ) reported. Commissioners said the license was meant only as a restaurant liquor license, not for a snack venue without security or police.

An attorney representing the movie theater firm asked the city to honor its Jan. 20 application as part of corporate plan to widen its concession offerings around the country. He argued that the city should use the original ordinance to consider the license and not base its decision on the revised law.

The change requires that food be served tabletop and prepared in a kitchen that at least has an indoor grill.

City Attorney Charlie Whitman and the commissioners argued that serving alcohol in a movie theater would present a challenge in preventing minors from accessing it. They said a venue serving non-prepared foods doesn’t constitute as a restaurant that qualifies to serve beer or wine with dinner.

“We’ve never given an F or I license to anybody but a restaurant,” Whitman said. “Now we get an application from somebody we don’t think qualifies. We want to say ‘here’s what we mean’ if you were thinking of having an F license apply to a totally different operation. We want to clarify that an F and I are restaurant licenses. He said the city did draft the ordinance after the application came in to clarify the intended uses of Class F and I licenses.”

Commissioners suggested that Carmike Theaters ask for a new type of liquor license that could be proposed to fit the venue.

Beer is served at the Bismarck Event Center, but under a different license, Commissioner Josh Askvig said, adding that the facility also staffs security at its events.

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