Atlanta bar features beer taps on tables

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ATLANTA --- March Madness was in full swing at the Atlanta sports bar, but fans huddling around the beer tap at their table -- yes, at their table -- were asking their own maddening question.

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Patrons pour beer from the tap at their table at STATS Restaurant in downtown Atlanta. Taps boasting two beer spouts are built into some of the tables at the Atlanta sports bar. Each is hooked into a cooler of kegs in the bar's basement through a network of tubes and pipes.  Associated Press
Associated Press
Patrons pour beer from the tap at their table at STATS Restaurant in downtown Atlanta. Taps boasting two beer spouts are built into some of the tables at the Atlanta sports bar. Each is hooked into a cooler of kegs in the bar's basement through a network of tubes and pipes.

How could this be legal?

Georgia -- a state that still bans residents from picking up a six-pack on Sundays -- is home to a new system that lets diners pull their own beer at the table.

"It turns out the law supports it. It's the same as putting a pitcher of beer at the table, and it actually increases monitoring," says Jeff Libby, the 26-year-old who patented the system.

His concept is simple. Taps boasting two beer spouts are built into tables dotting Atlanta's swanky STATS sports bar. Each is hooked into a cooler of kegs in the bar's basement through a network of tubes and pipes.

To fly with state officials, serve-yourself beer had to include some built-in deterrents.

A waitress must first check IDs before turning on the tap. When the digital ticker counting each ounce hits 180 -- or about three pitchers -- the taps shut off until a server comes by to check on the table. Bigger parties keep servers running back and forth fairly often, while it's rarer for smaller groups to hit the limit.

Each tap has two spouts offering a selection of the bar's more than a dozen beers, including Miller Lite, Guinness Stout, Newcastle and a house brew called Numbers Ale. Customers can pick which taps they get only by reserving a private party table.

To use the taps, diners simply reach into the middle of the table and pull the lever to get as much -- or as little -- beer as they'd like. Meters and valves monitor the flow and instantly display how many ounces the table has tapped.

Of course, this unique system demands a new pricing scheme. Charging customers by the ounce instead of by the drink means that if a full pint of brew costs $4, a single ounce would only cost a quarter.

Mr. Libby promotes it as a way to cut down on serving time. It also allows restaurants to charge for every drop -- even spillage or foam. And it lets some lighter or slower drinkers sip at their own pace.

"Sometimes you're with your husband and he drinks twice as fast as you -- and you can only down a quarter-beer," complained 31-year-old Jennie Olshaske, nudging in her spouse's direction. Now, she said, she can pour as little cold beer as she wants.

Mr. Libby came up with the idea for the table tender system while hanging out at a bar in South America that had personal taps.

When he returned to Georgia, the attorneys he hired to research state law found no fatal flaw that would kill the idea. Soon, he was pitching it to the state's Revenue Department as a way for restaurants to better monitor alcohol consumption.

They signed off on the plan, and he sold the first system to STATS -- a three-story bar a stone's throw from the Georgia Dome -- at a cost of $50,000 for about 30 table taps. He is now looking to expand, and has approval from North Carolina, South Carolina and California.

At a table full of twentysomething Michigan fans, there was a mix of fascination and head-shaking regret over the table taps. Why didn't they come up with the idea first?

"We were back home at Ann Arbor, and a friend came up with an idea to have a table taps. We all shot him down," groaned John DeLancey. "It's hard to believe it's legal."

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EdithPiaf
2
Points
EdithPiaf 03/26/08 - 07:33 am
0
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An under-aged drinker's dream

An under-aged drinker's dream come true!

devonae
0
Points
devonae 03/27/08 - 07:29 am
0
0
What are they thinking!?!?!?!

What are they thinking!?!?!?! Obviously it is ALL about the money and NOT about whast is right! Man am I glad I'm not raising kids nearby! MADD and SADD should speak out LOUDLY about this! This bar is setting a wonderful example! A wonderful example for stupidity that is!

Chuchi
2
Points
Chuchi 03/27/08 - 08:20 am
0
0
As the article reads, there

As the article reads, there is not much difference between this and having a pitcher (or pitchers) of beer on the table. "Meters and valves monitor the flow and instantly display how many ounces the table has tapped." This means that the servers can see how much alcohol the party has poured and they have a better idea of when to cut them off if necessary. Plus the article reads that the server has to check ID's before turning on the tap. Underage people can always sneak booze from legal drinkers at the same table with or without a beer tap; they can just take a drink when the server's back is turned. Trust me, I've seen it. Often. This might in fact help to curb some instances of over-consumption because sometimes people will polish off a whole pitcher of beer when they ordinarily wouldn't drink that much because they don't want to waste it. So it doesn't matter if the customers can serve themselves or not; underage drinkers and irresponsible drinkers will always find a way to get what they want. The inventor will probably become a rich young man and I'll bet this restaurant's profits will soar through the roof. I seriously doubt Augusta will ever get anything like this, though.

OkieGa1688
0
Points
OkieGa1688 03/27/08 - 01:18 pm
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Slow drinkers actually

Slow drinkers actually getting to drink a nice cold when a bit at a time, instead of drinking warm beer .. nice idea.

oxygen_thief
0
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oxygen_thief 03/27/08 - 04:30 pm
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devonae, what is with this

devonae, what is with this puritanistic ranting about what is "right"? did you not read the fail safes built into the system? or did you read the title of the article and decide that you had to react? are you setting a wonderful example of stupidity with your ranting? if they were handing out "go cups" then you would have something to be upset about. i think that it is a FANTASTIC idea!

Chuchi
2
Points
Chuchi 03/27/08 - 07:02 pm
0
0
In Savannah you can take your

In Savannah you can take your drink in a plastic cup with you any time of the year on River Street or City Market, but you'd better not get in your car with it (they have really good taxi service there, BTW). So everybody follows the rules and everybody has a good time and the business owners -- and subsequently the city --- make lots of money and the cops are able to keep everything under control. Too bad we can't figure out how to do stuff like that here.

CSRAider
0
Points
CSRAider 03/28/08 - 06:53 am
0
0
This is a good idea I think

This is a good idea I think Im gonna run up and try it. For all of u against it ur not invited!

He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named
0
Points
He_Who_Must_Not_Be_Named 03/30/08 - 05:24 am
0
0
I can see fraternity

I can see fraternity initiations/hazings taking full advantage of these things....kids just sticking their mouth under the tap and chugging until their heart stops. Ahhh college..good times....good times.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 03/30/08 - 09:23 am
0
0
What is the difference, order

What is the difference, order two pitchers or a bucket of beer. You still get the same thaing-Beer. It just stays colder in the tap and you pay more. I like the idea since I rarely drink mor e than two or three.

crazyoldman
21
Points
crazyoldman 03/30/08 - 09:53 am
0
0
Man yeah,Taps boasting two

Man yeah,Taps boasting two beer spouts built into tables. This Bud's for you, my whining, ranting friends all around the CSRA.

gcap
290
Points
gcap 03/30/08 - 12:50 pm
0
0
I'd like to have one of these

I'd like to have one of these contraptions at my house. Then I could invent one for disposition of used beer and never have to get out of my chair.

momofteens
0
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momofteens 03/31/08 - 12:09 pm
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0
devonae, whatever happend to

devonae, whatever happend to taking personal responsibility. I read no where in the article that people that were drinking didnt have designated drivers...why so quick with the negativity...if there were several automotive infractions from people leaving that particular bar you would know about it by now. Have some faith

DoubleD
0
Points
DoubleD 04/03/08 - 09:35 am
0
0
That is brilliant!!!

That is brilliant!!!

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