We read a cool article on Wired last week by Nathan Hurst called “Inside the Bar of the Very Near Future, Where You’re the Bartender” and it really got us thinking about bar technology. It covered some techy gadgets and how they can be utilized to make a bar a well-oiled machine that churns out a perfect drinking experience. For example:
- SceneTap: A camera at the entrance to the bar has a facial-detection algorithm that connects to an app on your phone. It tells you the current male-to-female ratio, average age, and level of activity you can expect.
- Pour My Beer: You put on a RFID bracelet (that’s radio frequency identification) and it’s connected to your bar tab. You get your pints on your own without a bartender and the system is smart enough to tally up what you drank and what you owe.
- Cirrus Ice Ball Press: This baby turns a block of ice into a sphere of ice so that it melts slower and doesn’t dilute your liquor.
There were more technologies mentioned that covered things from improving the quality of drinks, to making the bar experience more interactive, to implementing the use of analytics for bar owners.
One big question remains, though: Do patrons really want all of this technology when they go out for a night of drinking? Yeah, it’s great that Pour My Beer lets you get your beer without waiting, but if we wanted to pour our own beer, we’d drink at home. Trying desperately to make eye contact with the bartender is just part of the experience.
On the other hand, some things do seem like they’re important as the bar industry moves into the future. Analytics are essential for bar owners so that they actually make money and stay in business. Making sphere-shaped ice is rad because it keeps the liquor tasting great longer.
We’re all for progress and technology, but there is a fine line. Make our bars better, but don’t take away the character and overall experience that we love.