January 19, 2014

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Robot Bartender

By Alexa Day

I first heard about the robotic bartender a little over a week ago. It’s a smart looking black box, not unlike the replicator on Star Trek, that dispenses a perfectly blended cocktail into a glass at the touch of a button. The robot bartender keeps track of what you’ve been drinking and how much you’ve been drinking, so it knows what to recommend for you and it knows when to cut you off. It knows all the recipes, too, and it has nothing to gain by watering down your drink while it stiffens someone else’s. Unless you just want a gentler drink. You can use a little slider on the touch screen to adjust the strength of your beverage.

The robot bartender is called Monsieur, and in its own way, it’s just like any other technology. The developers recognize that it can’t replace a man (or a woman), but it can free the man to do his job more effectively. And the fact is that actually making the drinks is only a small part of your favorite bartender’s job, even though there is an element of performance art to swirling a martini or taking the torch to some 151.

Look at Sam go! He's working with his eyes closed.
Look at Sam go! He’s working with his eyes closed.

Your human bartender is the ultimate confidant. His quiet presence invites you to share your deepest, darkest secrets with him. He won’t judge. He knows when to offer advice and when to offer a sympathetic ear and keep his mouth shut.

The bartender flirts. He flirts with everyone, and you both know it, but somehow it’s different when he is flirting with you. He also doesn’t mind when you flirt with him. He knows exactly what buttons to push, and he has a way of making you feel like the most seductive person in the room.

And just to take it dirty, because that’s what I do, have a nice long look at your bartender’s hands. It’s okay. He expects it. Doesn’t the bartender have nice, strong, capable hands? Are you going to find a robot anywhere in the world with hands like that?

Now that glass really can fill itself -- sort of.
Now that glass really can fill itself — sort of.

There are still loads of places perfect for Monsieur. It’s always at your side for table service. Monsieur’s ready to step in when the crowd at the bar is so thick that you can’t even see the human bartender. Monsieur will even work your annual backyard grillfest so your human bartender friend can enjoy your party as a guest, without having to work.

Most importantly, the robot bartender frees the human bartender to do more of the things only a human bartender can do. Like carding you when you don’t really need to be carded.

Why? Well, the better to flirt with you, my dear. In my own past as a bartender, I’ve used that handy-dandy ID info to ask about motorcycles, eye color, any number of fascinating things. Monsieur won’t do that to you, but that’s just one of the services a human bartender will provide.

Are you down with Monsieur? Do you insist on a flesh-and-blood bartender? Or are you thinking of a very hot cyborg bartender hybrid? I know I wouldn’t mind having Monsieur around for my personal home use. It would pour me a double if I’m coming home from work late, which is a really sweet gesture, and it’d take care of my friends, who can be a handful once the party’s underway. For going out, however, I must insist on the personal touch. Or a cyborg.

Make sure you follow Lady Smut while you consider these all-important questions. We’ll be sure to keep you in the mix.

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  • Post authorMadeline Iva

    Me, I like having a little bit of a job at a party. Helping a hostess hand around snacks, or whatever. I’m just enough of a dork that sometimes at a party I don’t know what to do with myself, and feel like a big ole wall flower.

    I think the folks who bartend at parties like having a job too, sometimes. There’s something soothing about grinding the mint and sugar together for a mojito…

    I’ve heard the biggest problems bartenders face is being TOO popular. A lot of them wrestle with alcoholism from all the drinks people buy them. That’s a problem that Monsieur will probably not have to face.

    Reply to Madeline Iva
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      You know, I hadn’t heard that about bartenders, although it’s possible I just wasn’t working that type of bar. In the very brief, happy time I was in that line of work, I think exactly one person wanted to buy me a shot, and I was able to gently redirect him. Gentle redirection was another of my favorite parts of that job. 🙂

      I wish I’d found out about bartending before my life took that wrong turn into law school. But alas, there’s nothing to be done for that now.

      So now I have to save my pennies for a Monsieur of my very own, I think! Or maybe some generous soul will put it under the tree for me next Christmas, hint hint?

      Reply to Alexa Day
  • Post authorElizabeth Shore

    Nah, not for me. I prefer my bartender to be real and have a personality, to make jokes, to ask how my day/week/whatever was, and to politely inquire whether I’l be having my usual even as he’s already halfway finished making it before I respond. Oh, and the hands thing. Yeah, I’m down with that.

    Reply to Elizabeth Shore
    • Post authorAlexa Day

      Oh, yeah, definitely a human bartender for outings — even if he’s just the man who hangs out with the machine. But for the living room, I can see the merits of not having to mix my various girly drinks myself. 🙂

      Reply to Alexa Day

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