The iconic saloon of yesteryear has evolved into something that is more specialized. Some of these specializations, as listed by Wikipedia are blues bars, comedy bars, dance bars, karaoke bars, salsa bars, etc. Arguably, the most popular of this subset is the sports bar.
Palermo’s, in St. Louis, is credited as the first sports bar. It opened as a bar in 1933 and took on the persona of a sports bar after World War II. They were located adjacent to Sportsman’s Park (a baseball stadium). It was normal to see patrons having a drink and listening to the baseball game on the radio. Palermo’s had started to accumulate sports memorabilia in the 40’s. Patrons flocked there, in the 50’s, to watch sporting events on television.
The modern sports bar has carried on the tradition of offering the televised spectacle of athletic competition. Technological advancements in television has only improved the viewing experience for sports bar participants. The viewing picture only get bigger and crisper.
The technology required to morph golf into other games is utilized at Topgolf. Partiers will swing a club to hit the ball just as they would if they were at a traditional driving range. The technology allows players to accumulate point for themselves or for their team (depending on the game that they are playing).
There are other examples of technology penetrating the bar experience. The technology that allowed the karaoke craze that started in Japan is a perfect example of technology enabling the user experience. This party format allows patrons to be the star of their own concert. A partier makes a musical selection. Only the instrumentals are broadcasted through the sound system. The lyrics appear on a monitor, so the “want-to-be” rock star can sing along with the music.
Automation of drink services could only be allowed by advancements in technology. In these types of establishments, drink orders are placed electronically. A computerized system pours the drinks exactly to the customer’s specifications. This enables the bar to provide a consistent drink experience.
Extreme cold is required to create an Ice Bar. These are bars that are furnished with ice. The bar, chairs, tables, stools, etc., are made of ice. Usually the drinking vessels are made of ice, as well. A sophisticated computer and freezer system are required to accomplish the extremely cold temperatures.
Even the jukebox has received a modern day technological facelift. The days of putting nickels, dimes, and quarters into a coin slot is almost as antiquated as the rotary phone. Today’s jukebox song selections are chosen with the assistance of an app. This app will tell patrons what song is playing, the current play list, and when their song selection will be played.
The face of the modern sports bar has changed over the years. Many of the changes can be accredited to new technologies and innovations. Even with all the technology in the world the purpose of a bar remains the same: A place to socialize with new and old friends.