The opportunity arose when we needed somewhere to go for a drink before going to the Grimm Tales' second show (as wondrous as the first), as that was taking place around the corner in the Oxo Tower Wharf.
At 6pm on a Tuesday evening, Thirsty Bear wasn't exactly doing a roaring trade (where is at such a time) but I noticed quite a few tables were reserved for later. Perhaps a pub quiz? I couldn't stay long enough to find out.
Not only do they let you pour your own drinks, but they also do table service - hi-tech table service, with the purpose of taking out the annoying part of being at the bar - all the queuting and jostling for service. Here (provided you get the right table) you simply log in to the iPad on the table, scroll through all the drinks (cocktails, beer, wine), food (nachos, burgers, chips etc), snacks and even cigarettes and make your selection. Then you sit back and wait for it to arrive. Unless you want tap water, in which case, it seemed you could only get that at the bar. (But why would you want tap water?)
Or, if you don't like waiting at all, you can let them know you'll be doing your own serving, by making use of one of the taps on your table. That's right, beer (or cider) is directly pumped to where you are sitting,from which you can have as much or as little as you like. You're given a glass to top up as you please, and this is charged in tenths of a pint. Because I just had to try it out, just before we left I poured myself what turned out to be a third of a pint and was charged £1.20 for it. Pretty reasonably priced. The downside to this method though is that you only have a choice of Strongbow (bleugh) or Amstel.
The other beers and wines on offer through the iPad are pretty decent - my friend had a Malbec and I had a glass of Picpoul. A few of us got some food - nachos looked good and other chips/breaded items were decent.
The guy behind the bar was really helpful, explaining how the system works, and had endless patience when we left at the end and all wanted to pay our bar tabs separately. That's the only thing about the system - you get one login for the table, meaning all the drinks go on one person's tab, which could lead to some awkward bill splitting later.
Without the novelty this would be just a pretty average pub, but it's amazing how fun a bit of technology can make a normal experience.
So we went on to my second time at Grimm Tales - this time there were five stories to watch and a much bigger setting to wander around. Again, everyone loved them and, given there are 100s of Tales to choose from, I hope that this becomes a yearly event. Some pictures: