EXIT Theater Upgrades Liquor License To Leverage Area's Arts 'Renaissance'

The 35-year-old EXIT Theatre is upgrading its beer and wine license so it can offer theatergoers liquor by early 2018.

Selling food and alcohol is a “small part of our operations,” but it is “an important amenity,” managing director Richard Livingston told Hoodline. “It makes us first-class as a theater.”

The EXIT Theatre is a multiplex that offers a wide variety of entertainment, from plays and magic shows to burlesque and stand-up comedy, Livingston said. Its five theaters range from 25 to 80 seats, including a cabaret-type space that has a café and serves drinks, he said.

The Board of Supervisors last week approved the theater's application to exchange its type 41 beer and wine sales license for a type 64 license, which are reserved for theaters.

Located at 156 Eddy St. between Taylor and Mason, the theater would still be restricted to on-site only sales, but could offer cocktails along with its existing beer and wine offerings.

EXIT Theatre Café. | Photo: EXIT Theatre

The Board's approval was one of the last steps toward getting the license, Livingston said. There are a few more hurdles to jump, but the theater expects to be able to offer spirits early next year.

Although the bar program is still under development, EXIT Theatre has plenty of guidance from its founder and artistic director, Christina Augello, Livingston said.

According to Augello, she grew up in a speakeasy-turned-bar her father owned an operated. 

She said time spent at her father's establishment encouraged her to pursue a career as a theater owner. The signed photos of actors and famous visitors that adorn the theater's walls are a tribute to her father’s bar, she said.

Livingston estimated that more than 19,000 people attended shows at the EXIT Theatre last year, making it one of several independently-owned theaters and arts spaces in the area that's attracting growing numbers of patrons.

“We are seeing a real renaissance of indy arts, there is really something important happening in these two blocks” with Safe House, PianoFight, CounterPulse, The Luggage Store, Cutting Ball Theater—and EXIT was one of the first, Livingston said.

PHOTO: RACHEL MOGAN/CUTTING BALL THEATER

“It is having a huge economic influence on the neighborhood and the city,” he added. 

You can check out the EXIT Theatre’s calendar on its website, and look forward to a cocktail at intermission early next year.

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Exit theater upgrades liquor license to leverage area s arts renaissance