Introducing the iPub: London boozer serves beer with iPads

Introducing the iPub: London boozer serves beer with iPads

Summary: A pub in Southwark has installed iPads with custom-built software to cut ordering time for customers. The Robot Pub Group now hopes to expand its concept to other venues.


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  • Since installing the iPads at the Thirsty Bear in January, Robot Pub Group says it has seen takings increase by around 78 percent compared with November-December 2011.

    "Reaction's been good. A lot of people know you can pour your own beer so they come in because of that, then when they get here, they realise the iPad adds a lot to their evening," Neale, whose background is in IT consulting, said.

    "This was always meant to be a pilot, partly to put our money where our mouth was," he added.

    The Robot Pub Group now hopes to sell its concept to other pubs and has had "five to six approaches" from interested parties, according to Neale.

    One added cost of the system lies less with the tablets than with the plumbing, as extra pipes have to be laid from the bar to each self-service table.

    The company is planning to open another venue of its own in Fulham, which may come with a self-service 'beer wall', where punters can serve themselves from eight to 10 different taps.

    Image credit: Jon Yeomans

  • Above, left to right: William, Charles, Peter and Simon travelled up from Marlow specifically to visit The Thirsty Bear, having read about it elsewhere. They gave the Robot Pub Group's concept a cautious thumbs-up.

    "We think it would be good at sports events," Charles pointed out. "When there's football and things on and you're sitting here with your mates, you can just pour a pint rather than going back and forth to the bar. You wouldn't miss anything."

    ZDNet can report that at the time of our visit both the iPads and the beer were fully functional.

    Image credit: Jon Yeomans

Topics: Tablets, Apple, United Kingdom, After Hours

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  • cool

    That is so cool!
  • What kind of sick mind...

    ...would replace a cute beer maid with this?
    • Don't you read ZDNet?

      I'm sure that people like Robert Hahn, CaviarBlack, seanconnery, and msalzberg would be more turned on by an iPad than a cute beer maid, at least if we go by what those people post.
    • Not Me

      I'd take the St. Pauli girl EVERY time. There is no Cherry 2000.
  • Control panels

    There are probably hundreds of devices out there that use custom-designed microprocessor-and-display modules as control panels... everything from machine tools to medical equipment. All of those things are low volume and hence expensive.

    This sort of thing happened with PCs early on: the standardized low-cost PC replaced all sorts of custom-designed microprocessor controllers in a wide variety of applications.

    Tablets will be made in such volumes that the same thing will happen with all these touch-screen control panels. I doubt that iPads are going to keep much of this business. An OEM version that can be built into some other piece of equipment will end up winning most of this business. Guys like Asus and even 'white box' manufacturers will win this segment.
    Robert Hahn
  • RE: I'm sure they are good Pub owners but

    Not good businessmen when it comes to tech buying. IPAD is extreme overkill for that limited task
  • iPubs already exists¡

    Hi, iPubs, the pubs network, already exists.
    I'm the CEO, for the moment we're only in Spain.
    Kind regards¡
  • Does it have an icon

    for "Four pints of lager and a packet of crisps please!"
  • Someone just swiped my drink

  • the bike rack outside will

    be full of fixies while inside the customers in their tight jeans, checkered shirts fake glasses and grandpa hats with crappy tattoos will be ordering some strange manderin and grape microbrewery cider over ice while being ironic and ordering their drinks on an ipad..
    what a really bad idea this is its rather pointless, just get up out of your seat, go to the bar wait a min then get a real drink like an ale, chat to the barman then go and sit down and munch some pork crackling.
    ipad in a bar nothing more then an expensive bear mat
    • hahaha

      bear mat i meant beer mat, i wonder what a bear mat looks like?
      Grow up men be a real man, no man orders their beer on a gadget. The pub is s British social institution, I want a dimpled glass with a handle, no strange fruity lagers or alcho pops and a white wine spritzer for the lady.
      1 Friday night and the ipads will be nicked.
      • I wonder

        how long it takes to flush those pipes out, as if you have a network of pipes snaking everywhere they are going to get manky..also how good a hack could it be to break the system and get beer for free im sure someone will do it..
  • ...getting a magnetic swipe card from the bar...

    Oh lordy, how secure is THAT in a busy pub?

    Those things can be duplicated with a laptop and a reader in seconds... The pub probably wont get ripped off, but the customers will.