Human waiters and bartenders are increasingly falling out of fashion as a number of restaurants around the world continue to deploy food serving robots of all kinds in an effort to add a dash of cool while lowering costs. The latest addition to this trend is a new wine bar opening in the New York area that will allow customers to get their drinks from an automated kiosk via smartcard.
The Park 112 in upper Manhattan plans to roll out the a self-serve wine bar service next month that will be facilitated by machines from an Italian company called Enomatic. The wine kiosks serve up to eight different bottles simultaneously and are operated through LCD touch screen displays that dole out the wine after authorization with an RFID-embedded smartcard.
Self-serve alcohol has always been a risky prospect, particularly given that some customers will simply not know when to cut themselves off as they pass the tipsy stage and enter into full on inebriation. But with the smartcard and the touch screen acting as soft hurdles to getting that next sip, the tech buffers might be enough to slow down even the most enthusiastic drinkers.
There's also the issue of the kiosk essentially diminishing any of the pomp and ceremony usually surrounding the routine of serving wine in a high-end establishment. But as robotic systems become ever more ingrained in all service industries, this could simply be an inevitable shift even for the world's long-cherished sommeliers. You can see more of the automated wine kiosks in gallery below.