We’re not even going to pretend that most of you (or us) have invested in Bitcoin, or even know what Bitcoin is. But we’re learning, and an increasing number of people are diving wallet first into the world of cryptocurrencies. And if you’re one of the relatively early adopters with Bitcoin burning a hole in your virtual pocket, spending the digital gold is one of the various nominal uses Bitcoin has. So, what can you spend it on? A drink, that’s what.
BitBar, a newly launched site from the good folks at booze-friendly startup Grouper Social Club, allows users to purchase drinks at various bars across the US. At the moment, BitBar has listings for bars in 23 US cities, including Boston, New York, Chicago, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and more. Tom Brown, co-founder of Grouper, tells Digital Trends that BitBar will roll out to more “major cities first,” and adds that the team will “likely [add] Europe before smaller cities.”
Here’s how BitBar works: When you visit the site, you’re automatically given an alias, which the bartender at your watering hole of choice will call out once you’re drink is prepared. Next, you pick the bar you want to visit from an integrated Google Map showing all the possibilities. Finally, you pay using either a Coinbase account, or another Bitcoin address where your digital money is stored. Once you confirm your purchase, BitPay uses Coinbase to process the transaction, and your drink will be ready at a time listed on the site.
At the time of this writing, a drink through BitBar costs a flat rate of 0.01 BTC (short for Bitcoin), which equates to just under $7, at current exchange rates. If you’re buying a drink in Columbus, Ohio, for example, that’s probably pretty steep. On the other hand, New Yorkers are likely thrilled to get a drink for that price. Also, because the price of Bitcoin fluctuates so rapidly, the BTC amount you pay will likely jump up and down along with the Bitcoin exchange market.
BitBar is brand new, so it has its fair share of rough edges. But its biggest hurdle may be that “BitBar” is also the name of an “altcoin,” or a Bitcoin alternative. So, for the moment at least, if you search “BitBar” in Google, you may not to find anything remotely to do with drinking.
It almost goes without saying that BitBar is not the most convenient or practical way to buy a drink. But it is a cool experiment, and one of the latest examples of how Bitcoin may be used to change the way we do things in an Internet-centric world.
Update with comment from Grouper co-founder Tom Brown.