Food & Drink

This Brooklyn Bar Has a Self-Serve Beer ATM

If you hate waiting forever for a bartender to notice you when all you want is a simple beer, then allow us to introduce you to your new favorite invention: the beer ATM. Randolph Beer in Brooklyn, New York, has a self-serve beer wall that operates like a vending machine or ATM. Simply insert your card, and out comes the brewski.

The wall is a new addition to the bar, which opened in 2013, and includes 24 rotating taps. Anyone who’s ever gotten Fro-Yo will recognize the concept: You take as much or as little you like, and pay by the ounce. Thankfully, the digital beer wall shows your tab as it ticks up (like the pump at a gas station), so you won’t be hit with surprise charges like at 16 Handles (those toppings will get you).

“You’re able to try beers you normally wouldn’t,” says Kyle Kensrue, a partner at Randolph Beer and certified cicerone (a beer sommelier, essentially). Kensrue personally selects the craft beers, often choosing hard-to-find brews and experimental styles. “We’re probably the only bar in New York that doesn’t have a pilsner on tap at the moment.”

Each tap has a screen that displays information about the beer, including its country of origin, ABV, tasting notes and, of course, price. Lest you think the self-serve wall is putting bartenders out of business, the bar still employs bartenders to mix cocktails and offer expert beer advice, including how to pour the beers without getting a glassful of foam. Every bartender on staff is a certified beer server, the first level of the cicerone program.

“I like to say, think of the wall as the Apple Store, and the bartenders as the Genius Bar,” says Kensrue. “They’ll answer any question.” Spurred on by the popularity of the wall (and the bar in general), Randolph Beer will be opening a brewery and massive beer hall in Brooklyn later this summer.

Between this bar’s self-serve wall and the Champagne vending machines cropping up across the country, this summer promises to be a seriously boozy one, free of all that annoying human interaction.