Self-serve tables with their own draft taps (and metered displays) have begun popping up in European bars — Pilsen, Czechoslovakia’s new Pilsner Unique Bar and Dublin, Ireland’s 300-year old Baggot Inn, for instance — and they seem like a pretty cool idea. With them you’ll be able to sample a number of different brews, and be able to top off your glass without ordering an entire pint.


They do remove one of the best parts of your local tap house, however: the barkeep or barmaid. Even in lederhosen, a self-serve draft tap can’t look very sexy. They’re also less personable and will never be able to have a pint waiting there for you the minute you walk through the door.

The biggest upside, as I see it, is the chance to pull your own Guiness (or similar nitro stout), as explained in this video from the Baggot Inn. What do you think?

source: Cool Town Studios
[tags]beer, draft beer, beer gadgets, pub[/tags]



  1. The idea of trusting your customers to pour their own beers will probably not last long. I can think of a lot of reasons why this won’t work:

    1) The people at the table are responsible for paying for the beer they drink. If they don’t keep a close eye on the tap – who’s to prevent someone from walking up and pouring themselves a drink?

    2) Someone is getting drunk and forgets to shut off the tap and beer pours all over the tables and floor. Someone who’s a bit disgruntled may intentionally leave these taps on.

    3) Somebody will eventually get clever enough to hack the beer meter and get a free beer out of this. While you may save money on not having to hire a bartender, you’ll end up paying more for spilt beer, clean-up and arguements about how much beer was actually poured.

    While automation can sometimes be a good thing, I’d say keep the control of the beer where it belongs – with a bartender and wait-people.

    • Trust me, its not about trusting your customers at all 🙂

      To Chipper Dave:
      1) There is a precise measurement for tapped beer. There is no way you can get around that, its measured and you have to pay for what you tapped, in a very same way as if it is brought to you by a barkeeper.

      2) The tap has to be pulled if you want to pour the beer, unless you pull it (it actually takes some force) all the time, the beer isnt running out of the tap, so no worries there.

      3) Measurements again. When youre at the table, youre actually pretty far from anything you could “hack” and “hacking” itself would be more difficult than you can imagine.

      I know what i am talking about, have been working on these czech (just making clear, there is no Czechoslovakia for like 20 years 🙂 ) Pilsner Unique Bar systems.

      As BinaryBrew said, totally true, it actually is how it works or at least one of the ways it can be done.

      One more thing, this system itself doesn’t remove the need for barkeeper or barmaid completely, it’s not as simple as it might look. You could even have a pint waiting there, there’s always a bar in such a pub too, but i know what you mean, it really is less personable. Sometimes it can be a good thing though, you can have any conversation uninterupted by a staff bringing you drinks.

  2. You would have to develop a metered system like the do in the high end wine bars. The tap would not just run free. You would swipe a re-chargable card for each pint poured. I think it would work great.

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