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Good Idea? More SoCal Bars Installing Self-Serve Beer Taps

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It's pretty fun to dispense your own froyo at countless Southland yogurt shops, so imagine how kickass it is to pour out your own beer from self-serve taps. It's not so theoretical: Recently two Orange County sports-themed bars (run by the same company) revealed they'll have self-serve taps, and there's an already-up-and-running L.A. spot where you can pour your own at your table.

Culver City's City Tavern, which opened last year, was actually "the first California state-approved establishment to offer patrons the ability to pour their own beer," according to their site. Their self-serve taps are installed at three six-person booths in the restaurant; the booths "come equipped with their own personal and computerized copper back-booth, draft beer dispensing systems with three craft beers."

The OC Register's Fast Food Maven takes a look at Newport Beach's forthcoming Tap Shack, which "will have 20 different types of draft beer that guests can pour themselves." Those taps will be out on the patio, "are monitored by the ounce and will be operated by the push of a button."

Meanwhile, Tap Shack already has a "big sister" establishment headed to Huntington Beach. The Taphouse Restaurant & Lounge will also have the self-serve computerized taps on the patio, operated by an iButton. Customers will be charged by the ounce. But there's an interesting twist here: The beer pricing is based in part on the weather. Get this: "Beer will cost $1.50 plus the weather. Meaning if it is 80 degrees outside, beers will cost $2.30. So the colder the weather, the cheaper the beer," explains the Fast Food Maven. Bring on the clouds!

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At City Tavern, where the owners happily believe most patrons have entertained fantasies of being bartenders, there's a pour limit set up in the computerized table taps system, according to the L.A. Times. "TableTenders come programmed with an automatic shut-off that stops the flow of beer once a predetermined limit has been reached: 32 ounces per person, per table."

Plus, self-serving has some clear benefits for the business and the beer-drinkers: "Proprietors sell more beer and reduce spillage, while patrons get to drink their beer fresh, without having to wait for servers, pour from pitchers or pay for beer they didn't drink."

Of course, if you've ever had a stone-cold sober struggle with a 7-Eleven Slurpee dispenser, you might be a little trigger shy during a happy hour self-serve beer session, understandably.

Have you ever poured your own beer at a bar or restaurant? Is this the wave of the future?

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