Lonely Planet Writer

This bar in New York has no bartenders and you can serve yourself beer on tap

Is the friendly, neighbourhood bartender slowly becoming a thing of the past?

A new craft beer bar in New York is bucking the trend and has no charismatic bartenders taking drinks orders as patrons serve themselves in Paloma Rocket.

Paloma Rocket allows you to pour your own beer!
Paloma Rocket allows you to pour your own beer! Image by Paloma Rocket

The trendy new hangout- which had a soft opening in recent months- is one of the first bars in the city to employ a self-serve — almost futuristic — full craft beer tap system.

Rather than traditional bartenders, customers can liaise with ‘beer ambassadors’ as they enter the Lower East Side premises in Manhattan.

NYC’s first self-service craft beer bar is open. Here’s some of the 30 taps at Paloma Rocket on the LES.

A photo posted by Brew York (@brew_york) on Jun 24, 2016 at 5:15pm PDT

Patrons can purchase ‘Beer 2 Go’ cards and place a specific value on them.  These cards can then be used at the electronic beer tap machines, where customers can serve themselves as little or as much as they want.

Unsure about what you want to order?  The ‘Pour My Beer’ electronic machines have an interactive screen over the taps which school you on the drink inside.  It also tells you how much you have poured and the price – which starts at as a little as 40c for a taster- and this also includes taxes and tip.

Customers are also being encouraged by the owners – Graham Winton and Jacqueline Munson – to enlist the help of the beer ambassadors when making their choice of beverage.

The ‘Pour My Beer’ electronic system also employs a temporary suspension after every second drink poured per customer, so the staff can ensure patrons have not reached their own personal limit.

Josh Goodman, the founder of the ‘Pour My Beer’ software told a CNBC consumer show that he was inspired to create the system after not being able to get served in a crowded bar and thought there has ‘got to be a better way’.

So far the self-serve bar has been a hit with customers and Goodman has reassured bartenders  that the system is not designed to eliminate them, as he believes it actually enhances their role as it tears away a wall in the customer service interactions.

The popular, quaint bar hosted a wedding reception earlier this year at its Clinton Street premises and customers have taken to social media to compliment it’s James Bond themed art deco posters and pieces of memorabilia that adorn the walls.

And don’t worry, if beer isn’t for you, cocktails have recently been added to the menu.