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Comment Archives: Stories: Food: Last 30 Days

Re: “The Tamales and Mezcal at WillCo Embody Mexico City Spirit

let's lose the plastic ware

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by terryboo on 11/17/2017 at 10:31 AM

Re: “Is Self-Service Beer the Trendy New Normal?

Gasoline stations ("fillin' stations" in the South) used to have people pumping gas. They don't now, except in Oregon and maybe a few other places. Some of those fillin' station employees were a lot of fun. You got to know them, and they got to know you.

But in the end, dispensing gas was not a value-added proposition and those jobs were eliminated in favor of lower prices. Many fast-food restaurants have gone to self-serve soft drinks for the same reason. I doubt that the bartending profession will go away anytime soon, but I'm not surprised to see some experimentation.

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by ct on 11/10/2017 at 7:54 AM

Re: “Is Self-Service Beer the Trendy New Normal?

As part-owner and General Manager of Pour Taproom, I (Dan Enarson) was very disappointed to read Michael Burrows review since many of his assertions about our model were based on assumption, rather than journalistic due diligence. The entire piece was seemingly written without him speaking to management or any of our staff. Had he endeavored to do so, he would have found that our staff receive above what the Durham Living Wage sets as their hourly rate for employees making tips. Mr. Burrows incorrectly assumes that just because Pour isnt yet signed up with The Durham Living Wage Project, we therefore underpay our staff. That would be as incorrect for me to assume the same of The Indy Weeks employee compensation, which according to the Durham Living Wage website, is not a certified member. Neither are many downtown bars, for that matter, but this seems to be the proof for Mr. Burrows that we are inadequately compensating our staff.

Mr. Burrows review also suggests that we are a standard American chain. While we do share a logo and concept with other locations, we are independently-owned by locals who value what Durham values: community, social justice, and creativity. Thats why our locally handcrafted booths have low backs to encourage customers to lean in and foster warm connection. Our traditional beer hall style also lends itself to unrelated customers sharing space together at our locally handcrafted communal walnut tables. Mr. Burrows incorrectly assumes that because of the automated aspect of a self-serve beer wall, that somehow our customers dont engage in a centuries-old social exchange between patron and bartender. On the contrary, because our staff arent pouring drinks, it frees them up to engage customers creatively around beer styles, getting to know them personally and their drink preferences, much like a bartender.

As Mr. Burrows inferred, a bar isn't just about the beer, it's about the people servicing it. We have an excellent team of ten individuals, who care about people, know their beer and enjoy getting to know our regular patrons. They may not stand behind a traditional structure, but they're roaming and know regular customers and their tastes by name.

Again, had Mr. Burrows bothered to chat to any of us, or our local customers, maybe he would have gained a more accurate depiction of what Pour contributes to the Durham downtown vibe, beyond just the tech and self-serve experience. We understand Mr. Burrows anxieties about the future. But we dont see ourselves a marker of those, but rather a place that bring Durhamites together.

16 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Daniel Enarson on 11/09/2017 at 11:00 AM

Re: “Is Self-Service Beer the Trendy New Normal?

I've taken advantage of the self-pour wall at Clouds in Raleigh. It can be an interesting experience, and if you are trying to taste 4-6 beers it can be very useful as you pour just enough of each to take a good taste.

However, at my favorite beer places the interactions with the bartenders are part of the fun going there. Self-pour may work out very well for some (and be cost effective for the bar), but others will still want that interaction. After all, the last time I asked a wall - regardless of how many taps it had on it - "what do you think I'd like?", the wall just stood there silent as always.

Oh, and another issue with self-pour... Some beers are easier to pour than others. Bartenders tend to know how each one comes out of the tap, and treat it appropriately. If there is a hard-to-pour beer on self-tap, the poor beer customer could get frustrated (or all foam, or both). Plus, bartenders tend to be quicker. For example - Clouds had their Bourbon County Stout event a while back, and the BCS was on their self-pour wall. Let me tell you - waiting for 20, 30, 40 rookies to pour a beer in front of you is no fun (and my apologies to those who were behind this rookie).

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by SomeCallMe...Tim on 11/08/2017 at 11:08 AM

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