Grabbing a drink at small theaters will now be legal in N.J.

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Previously, only theaters with at least 1,000 seats were eligible for liquor licenses in New Jersey. (blizzard_77/)

Curtain up, bottoms up.

It’s now legal for small theaters in New Jersey to sell you alcohol to drink while catching a concert or a show, thanks to a bill Gov. Phil Murphysigned into law Tuesday.

The bipartisan legislation (A1478) permits some Garden State theaters with 50 seats or more to apply for licenses to serve alcohol.

Previously, only theaters with at least 1,000 seats were eligible for licenses in the state.

The new law would apply only to non-profit theaters that regularly host “musical or theatrical performances or concerts.”

Sponsors say the goal is to give New Jerseyans a chance to enjoy a drink while enjoying a show, and give small theaters a new revenue stream.

“Supporting the arts, particularly small non-profits, will strengthen every aspect of New Jersey’s vibrant arts community,” said state Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean Jr., R-Union, a sponsor. “This law will help venues serve patrons a memorable ‘night at the theater’ experience that will help the arts and the local economy flourish.”

The bill passed 39-1 in the state Senate and 76-0 in the state Assembly earlier this month.

Brent Johnsonmay be reached at bjohnson@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @johnsb01.

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