Serve-Yourself Beer Taps: the Latest Bar Trend?

Written by Kimberly Peiffer for

Gone are the days of waiting anxiously for your waitress to (finally) reappear to your table to bring you another cold brew.

Welcome to the world of serve-yourself beer taps. At Bull and Bear Bar, an upscale sports bar in Chicago, you can take advantage of the hot-spot’s best asset; pay-by-the-ounce beer taps that come with your table. Designated tables in the bar come equipped with two taps (one domestic and one imported) and a screen that tracks how many ounces you have left.

“Our tap system allows you to regulate and pour your own beer,” says Luke Stoioff, a partner of Twilight Traffic Control, the parent company who owns Bull & Bear, Stone Lotus and others.

The concept was born from the idea that being able to serve yourself instead of relying on others would be so much more convenient.

“We always thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a tap of beer at the table to drink and it wouldn’t get warm and you could just help yourself whenever you wanted to,'” says Stoioff. “This way, you don’t pay for pitchers you don’t drink, the beer stays cold, and you can refill whenever you feel like it.”

But the problem in the past was that it wasn’t legal to serve yourself in a bar; hence the need for bartenders and cocktail waitresses. Stoioff and his team took care of that problem in a jiff.

“Every table with a built-in tap (there are five inside the bar) also has a screen that tracks how many ounces you have left,” he says. “Each person is allotted 24 ounces of beer (roughly two pints) to start, and your waitress swipes a card at the beginning that activates the system so you can start self-serving.”

Once your 24 ounces is up, the system pauses so the waitress can come over and make sure you’re not overly inebriated. At that point, she can swipe a card so you can add more pours to the system.

But the best part just may be that there’s no minimum; so unlike bottle service where you can drop thousands over a couple of bottles of well liquor, you’re just paying for the beer — and the good times you probably won’t remember in the morning.

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