Robot Bartenders: The Future Is Now

An Optimus Prime that will make/require screwdrivers

If it looked like Pris from Blade Runner, we'd be more convinced.

Monsieur, the artificially intelligent bartender, can do almost anything a human bartender can do: he can take orders, mix and pour drinks, learn a customer’s tastes, and gauge if a patron has had too much to drink. He can even dole out hundreds of drinks in just 11 seconds each. But many human bartenders are not too concerned about losing their jobs to an alcohol-pouring android. Because one of the things Monsieur can’t do is have a human conversation.

Monsieur started as a Kickstarter project last fall, and now the Atlanta-based startup, headed by founder and engineer Barry Givens, will be delivering the first bartender robots to homes and businesses in May. The technology will be powered by an app, where patrons can choose a drink and order it "lightweight" or "boss," or even ask Monsieur for a recommendation.

Mayur Subbaro, mixologist and current beverage director at Louro in New York City's West Village, has had experience with robo-bartenders before at special events. He said that the robot bartender is largely seen as a novelty piece. And starting at $4,000 each, the Monsieur is no minor investment. When asked if New Yorkers should brace themselves for seeing artificial intelligence at their local watering holes, Subbaro said, "Don’t count on it."

"The irony of the whole robo-bartender thing is it’s not that hard to make drinks, and if I walk into a bar, I should be able to get a perfect Old Fashioned, no problem," said Subbaro. "But it is hard to be creative, and that’s what we do. I think this robot bartender will be a fun gimmick at parties."

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