Where’s My Gin And Tonic, Stupid Robot?
People say that no one wins in Vegas. Not really. That eventually, everyone gives back more to the house than they take away.
I have two problems with that theory. One: the whole give back/take away equation can be mightily skewed by someone who sucks down enough free cocktails while haunting the nickel slots. If what you’re there for is to maximize your alcohol consumption, not your blackjack winnings, you can make out like a bandit. A drunken, slobbering bandit.
Two, if you’re really losing that badly, the problem might be that you’re actually playing in Las Vegas. Maybe what you really need to do is start rocking the slots in Brooklyn. More specifically, at Pacific Standard where the Barbot (pictured above, with the attractive and oh-so-appropriate Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas case) has recently begun serving.
In case you can’t tell from the picture, Barbot is a re-purposed slot machine which, rather than paying out in cash, rewards winning pulls with a random mixed drink. The player has no control over what kind of cocktail Barbot will mix. That’s decision rests entirely within the steely heart of the machine (or, actually, in the bartender’s guide that passes for Barbot’s brain).
So where did Barbot come from? Like so many cool things, it was constructed by a bunch of geeks with access to a surplus Japanese slot machine, lots of hard liquor and too much time on their hands. And where it goes from here is, of course, completely up to SkyNet.
But before you get to thinking that all the cool stuff happens in Brooklyn, let’s not forget that our fair region has recently had its share of very-nearly-Japanese drinks-slinging moments. First, there was the vaguely Big Brother-y automated wine kiosks that sprung up in a couple Wegman’s food courts (neatly side-stepping a lot of PLCB rules about selling booze in grocery stores). Then there were the wine fountains–soda fountain-style dispensers that gave forth glasses of grown-up grape juice rather than Coke.
But if those two things weren’t robot-y enough for you, there’s always the new, PLCB-approved hard liquor-dispensing kiosks–basically an improvement on the wine-only design (which, in large part, were failures because people apparently didn’t like being scanned, ID’d and breathalyzed in public before being allowed to buy a $14 bottle of merlot), incorporating a select few bottles of hard liquor into the available selection.
Yeah, I know. None of those are quite as cool as a Hunter Thompson-styled cocktail mixing slot machine robot. But considering the way the liquor laws are written here, some days I’m amazed that any of us are able to get drunk at all. Even if we do have to do it the old-fashioned, non-robotic way