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Long waits to order drinks might be a thing of the past if the concept behind The Thirsty Bear, London’s first self-service pub, takes off.
The Blackfriars pub, formerly the Stamford Arms, opened at the end of January and boasts beer taps on every table – all controlled by iPads.
Customers set up a tab at the bar and are given a card to swipe at any of the tablets dotted around the pub. This activates the beer pumps on their table, as well as an on-screen display showing how much beer is being consumed.
Drinkers can also use the iPad to order other drinks and food to their table, control the jukebox and surf the internet; more functions, such as reserving a pool table and the ability to message other tables, will be rolled out later in the year.
The main bar is also staffed so that walk-ins who can’t get a table can still order a drink.
Director Alistair Rees explained how the idea came about: ‘We wanted to create a pub that had a good, lively atmosphere from being busy without customers having to take time out from their night to jostle for drinks at the bar.
Locals as well as technophiles seem to like The Thirsty Bear’s idea. ‘We’ve got a good mix of locals, students and young professionals,’ said Rees. ‘We’ve tried to keep the look and feel of the old pub while showcasing this new technology, and it seems to be working well.’