New bar where you pay by the hour to drink

Originally published at:


I’m torn between that sounds kind of cool, but also…



I suppose this weeds out people wanting to stay a long time at a bar when the bar could be catering to more customers. Maybe? My concern here is that yeah you can down a lot of drinks in a short amount of time and get wasted and get more than your money’s worth but that sounds like trouble on multiple levels.


Where is the catch here? Are the cops outside, noting how long cars are in the parking lot and setting up a sobriety checkpoint around the corner? Is the food really expensive? :thinking:


I’m willing to bet that this is illegal. I cannot imagine anywhere in the US where this doesn’t run afoul of liquor laws.


I love that someone came up with the idea of time-based rents on something that unavoidably distorts your perception of time.

Imagine all the philosophical closing hour “debates”, but they happen every hour.


I (barely) recall visiting some bars in Tokyo circa 2003 that were doing this. It went as badly as you would expect.


It sounds like this is what they hope will make them compliant: “Bartenders will only serve one drink per person at a time, and a proprietary point-of-sale system will track consumption. Butler says the system will scan driver’s licenses and use a patron’s height and weight to assign a number of drinks per hour to keep the bar in compliance with legal limits.”

You can get a long way toward compliance by requiring everyone to be “members” and not directly selling drinks may, itself, be a loophole. I know we’ve been able to do essentially the same thing at fundraisers in Texas in a county with pretty strict liquor licensing.


Given that a typical cocktail at bars around here (not even ‘top shelf’) is $12-$16, this is weirdly cheap. Are they thinking people are only drinking one cocktail per hour? Because I assure you, they aren’t.


I went to a bar kind of like this once in Germany - pay cover and get all the beer you can drink.

It being Cologne, beer is served in little elegant 200 mL glasses. One glass is issued per person on admission, to get more beer you go get it refilled, thus limiting service to one beer at a time per customer.

The real alkies arrived early and hooked their belts around the brass rail at the bar so they couldn’t be elbowed away. We were sitting at a table, so reaching the bar involved pushing through a dense crowd of impatient people moving one direction and people with full glasses salmoning the other way and occasionally spilling beer when they got jostled. We’d all finish our drinks and then deputize someone to take all the glasses up for refilling.

It was so unpleasant we left after only a couple of rounds, which would have been much cheaper if we’d just paid by the glass at a regular bar. And that was as high school students, not exactly rolling in cash.


It talks about “batch-mixing” drinks and having (only) two different price bands, which suggests to me that the menu is, like, “beer”, “wine (choose red or white flavor)” and “blue cocktail”. You’re not going to get anything you would pay more than $5 for normally.

The whole arrangement strikes me as depressing in a way I can’t put my finger on.


It being Cologne, beer is served in little elegant 200 mL glasses.

LOL, I don’t think that would go over well in Munich, where “Ein Mass Bier” (a liter) is the standard quantity.

Me at this bar: “Can you just sell me 5 minutes?”

[Rib Joint Customer : You got any soda?

Hammer: [says slowly] One… dolla…

Rib Joint Customer: Aww, come’on now… look out for a brotha… man… come’on… Hey check this out, why don’t you let me get a sip for fifteen cents

Hammer: [Pissed] My cups cost more than fifteen cents!

Rib Joint Customer: Alright, F - - the cup, pour it in my hands for a dime



In some states at least, it could be legal if it was a private club you had to become a member of, rather than a public establishment. I only skimmed the story though, so I don’t know if they are taking that angle or not.

1 Like

I hate to say this; but while I am fine with this kind of establishment being open, I would never want to go, and would try to stay as far away from it as possible…

It seems like it would attract inexperienced frat-bro style drinkers who were there to get as f*$ked up as possible as fast as possible and last one standing drag their butts out to the car.

I suspect that their experiences where people are drinking a few drinks during a party or political fundraiser - where they are expected to remain at least not that drunk; a bit tipsy at most - is going to run straight into a drunken wall when they open a bar (where people don’t feel the need to just be a little tippy but are good with being absolutely completely hammered)…


They invented airport lounges, charging by the hour.


I’ve seen all-you-can-drink in Las Vegas.

Very common in Japan. You pay a sitting fee and the venue serves you food and drink at an appropriate rate.


The Olympic Drinking Team shows up…


Different kind of beer, different serving style.

In Cologne, the style of beer is Koelsch, served in 200 mL glasses but topped off frequently. It would be completely normal to polish off 5-10 servings over the course of a dinner or night out.

In Munich, the style of beer is lager, served in 500 mL or 1L glasses, but you might nurse ein Maß for a whole meal, or maybe have 2 for a night out.

In the end, the same amount of beer consumed in different increments.