A Bar for the 21st Century

Nobody wants to be up at the bar for 20 minutes ordering a drink. Good thing we can fix this with existing technology:

Install a bunch of touch screen kiosks throughout the bar where you can order drinks. Order your drinks, swipe your card, add a tip and a receipt prints out with your order # and a bar code.

Put a huge screen (or ticker) above the bar that lists all the order numbers that are ready to be picked up. Present your receipt, the bartender scans it, it disappears from the screen and you get your drinks.

These touch screens would take care of the transactional side of bartending currently done by humans, allowing bartenders to make drinks faster. You could also allow tip size to influence drink order queues. Let the guy willing to tip a $20 get his drinks first, just like it would happen in an old fashioned bar.

Of course, the kiosks should have user friendly menus that make finding any drink simple. The first menu could list beers on draft, wine available, specials and have a recommendation wizard. Want a drink with vodka that’s sweet but not girly looking? Use the wizard!

Bonus 1: Have on screen advertising by alcohol manufacturers to offset costs / increase profits. You could also create the actual kiosk in the shape of an advertiser’s product with their label (i.e. it looks like a giant beer bottle with the advertiser’s logo all over it).

Bonus 2: Bars could also charge for strategic positioning of drink items, just like supermarkets do. As research has shown, the upper left quadrant of a screen is where digital users look most often. A choice placed in this position would result in its being purchased more often, so you could charge alcohol companies to put their products in that corner.

Bonus 3: Combine this with a congestion priced bar to be the talk of the town (until everyone else copies you at least)

Congestion Priced Bar

Want to make your bar be the first to fill up after work and to stay packed until close?


To keep a bar always hopping, try making drink prices based on how many people are in the bar.


People want to go to a bar where there are lots of other people. It’s a network effects situation: The more people that participate, the more that other people find it useful to participate. (Think of the usefulness of Facebook with 25 registered users vs 25 million, lots of people using it is a network effect.) People also want to drink for cheap. Once lots of people know how cheap drinks can get, more than the minimum amount will almost always be there.

In a way this is a never ending, glorified happy hour that’s more sensitive to supply and demand.


When there’s less than 20, beer is $1, well drinks are $2. When there’s less than 50, beer is $3, well is $4. Less than 100, beer is $4, well is $5. Once you’re near capacity, make beer $6 and well $8. Full capacity with a huge line outside? Up those prices again to $8 for beer and $10 for well.

If implemented, economists may be a disproportionate share of your patrons!