BRANDON — Vanessa Pursley had just purchased tickets to see Star Trek Into Darkness at AMC the Regency 20 when she turned to her mom, Vicki, and asked if she wanted an adult beverage to enjoy with the movie.
Vicki Pursley looked at the row of bright red, self-serve, Coca-Cola drink machines and was confused by the notion.
What she didn't notice was the adjacent MacGuffins bar, which opened on May 24. The Pursleys were among the first customers.
"We didn't even know it was here," said Vanessa, 21, who returned to her Lithia home to spend quality time with her mother after working toward a graphic design degree from Purdue University.
Vicki Pursley, 60, likes that it's a two-drink-per-order limit, the bartenders have the discretion to refuse service, and everyone has to show identification.
"I like that they card everyone," she said. "As long as they continue to do that, I think it's a good idea."
MacGuffins, a term coined by filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock in 1939, refers to a plot device that motivates the characters and advances the story, like the ring in Lord of the Rings. The MacGuffins in Brandon is the 50th bar of its kind throughout the AMC national chain, said AMC director of public relations Ryan Noonan.
"We've been upgrading our circuit through a number of different ways during the last few years, including the addition of MacGuffins bars to several of our locations around the country," Noonan said. "We're always looking to provide additional options to our guests, and we've received tremendous feedback where this concept is in place."
The full liquor bar has prices that are comparable to other entertainment venues'. Domestic drafts start at $6.75 and go to $8.50 for a large. Premium drafts are $1 more. Bottled beers are $6 to $7, wine from $5.25 to $8.25 per glass, and specialty cocktails are $9.75.
You also will notice there are no stools or benches at the bar. AMC wants you to enjoy your beverage in the theater during the movie. Along with six beers on tap, MacGuffins offers limited-time drinks to couple with movies playing — such as the "Vegas Adventure" that Vicki Pursley ordered. It pairs with The Hangover Part III and includes Jack Daniels, lemon sour, ginger ale and bitters.
Vanessa had a mojito. That, both mother and daughter agreed, was the better choice. They vowed to be back at least once a month.
"This really is an incentive to come," Vicki Pursley said. "A lot of dads don't want to go to a family movie, but if he could go have a beer and relax, it's an opportunity for family members to come."
Robert Cerjan, who works at MacDill Air Force Base, ordered a Sam Adams draft to take in to Star Trek Into Darkness. He also thinks MacGuffins is a welcomed addition.
"Why not," he said. "They have increased the experience for the moviegoer."
MacGuffins is open during regular movie hours and can be found in 14 states. Before opening in Brandon, the closest Florida locations were the AMC Veterans 24 in Tampa and AMC Downtown Disney 24 in Orlando.
Pollo Tropical coming to Providence Road
Miami-based Pollo Tropical is set to replace Arby's this summer at the building at 828 Providence Road in Brandon once renovations are complete.
Starting in 1988, the restaurant chain has become known for its citrus-marinated, flame-grilled chicken at nearly 100 locations throughout Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.
The extensive Caribbean-inspired menu includes mojo roast pork, sweet plantains, yucca, black beans and rice.
The flavorful meals and made-from-scratch sides have become a popular alternative to typical fast food.
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