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March 7, 2009

Table-top tap systems go online at Mother's Grille

table-top tapsAhhh, technology.

A couple days ago, the folks at Mother's Federal Hill Grille (1113 S. Charles St.) installed a new system that lets bar-goers tap their own beers at their tables.

There are two tables like this at Mother's, one in the front of the restaurant and one in the new expansion. Each table has two taps.

"It's one of those things where I have to explain to people how it works and then they get excited and start using it," said Josh Goodman, the VP of sales for The Table Tap, the company that makes this device.

Here is how the system works ...

You sit down at the table with a couple thirsty friends. There is a small kegerator underneath the table. A server checks IDs to make sure everybody is of legal drinking age. Then the server fires up the table-top taps. Each tap dispenses beer by the ounce. At Mother's the pricing is 23 cents for an ounce of Miller Lite and 28 cents for an ounce of Blue Moon.


Are you with me so far?

Every 90 ounces poured (that's about five pints), the system shuts down, and the only way to fire it back up is for the server to come back and check in.

The way I understand it, this is a trial run. The eventual goal is to run tap lines from the bar out to a bunch of tables in the place. Each table would have an LED display that tracked how much beer was consumed, by whom, etc.

"This is more or less a chance for people to see it and feel it," Goodman said.


(Photos from Josh Goodman)

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Posted by Sam Sessa at 9:00 AM | | Comments (28)
Categories: Bars & Clubs


So thankful it has an auto shutoff otherwise the next thing you know you have spent a fortunate without even batting an eye.

I was with you until: "Each table would have an LED display that tracked how much beer was consumed, by whom, etc." Hmm.

I think this is a good idea, Josh, but you are still a mediocre athlete, and a less than average golfer.

Looks like i'm gonna head down to mothers with a bunch of drinking buddies. That thing looks sweet.


What if you change seats or get up to use the restroom? Does the system think its a new person that sat down?

I'm a little unclear how the system knows how many people are drinking and how much each person is drinking.

That is $2.76 for a 12 ounce miller lite, I think a regular price bottle of beer is $3.50. That is a much better deal using the tap.

Now you don't have to fight the crowds trying to get the bartender's attention for another drink! Can't wait for the beer selection to expand

What's the Bar's liability if someone leaves drunk and drives with this less attentive monitoring of people's indulgent consumption of potent potables?

"A server checks IDs to make sure everybody is of legal drinking age."

Not checking ID at the door? Is that be a code violation.

So, if the server is not running back and forth serving drinks, you tip him/her for checking your ID and turning on the Orgasmatron.

Best thing is you won't have to leave your seat once Mother's gets those future urinal lines under the table hooked up and running.

Great idea. Hope someone in Columbia will install the Table Tap

Tomato Head,

Restaurants and bars don't have to check for identification at the door. It is the server or bartender's responsibility to make sure everybody is of legal drinking age.

Mother's does a good job with doormen at night carding customers.

In response to the 3 concerns:

The only people allowed to use the taps are the patrons at that table. It’s set up to dispense 90 ounces of each beer and then it pauses. This is no different than if the table ordered pitchers or buckets of bottles, except the beer is in the kegs and beer lines beneath the tables.

If your entire party is leaving the tables unattended, all you have to do is let the wait staff know and they can shut the tables down temporarily so no one else uses it while you are away.

The bars monitoring of consumption actually increases. If the wait staff or bartender feels that a table has consumed too much, they simply turn it off and tab them out.

Is this thing Legal? I thought that it was illegal for customers to pour their own drinks in Baltimore. Bottle service has the Bottle Locks (that no one uses) but it is illegal for customers to pour from their own bottle. I don't think that beer would be any different... is it?

This ranks up there with self checkout lines as the stupidest ideas out there. It sounds nice, but it is way more hassle than it is worth. You still have to rely on a server to keep starting it back up or pause it if you walk away. Why not have them bring you a beer when they come over? Do you have to tip them? The customer is doing all the work. Do people really need gimmicks as a reason to drink?

I think this is cool. Pouring your own beer has a certain novelty to it. I definitly would be more prone to go to a bar with a Table Tap. Great idea.

Does the food come to you through the pipes, too?

Shuts down after 5 pints. I see 8 chairs. So you can't even get another round without the server?

Read the following on another thread:

the liquor board fined the place $4,400 and suspended its liquor license for 80 days for underage drinking and allowing patrons younger than 21 to enter

I'm now guessing LL, by not serving food, follows different operating restrictions of the code in place.

LL is a club, while Mother's is family restaurant.

I kind of agree with Grundy on this one - it seems like it could just end up being kind of a hassle. Plus I mean, I have a kegerator at home, if I want to pour myself a beer I'll do it there ;P .

I would certainly adjust my tipping strategy if the server is only doing half the normal work load (provided you're only drinking beer), even if the self-serve draft is *slightly* cheaper.

I would imagine the contraption would have to be disinfected after every party
of users.

haha, how about keg stands

thanks for the idea tomato!

This thing is a great idea! I can't wait to get over to Mother's to pour myself a pint!

This system is in place in Atlanta, and apparently it was going over well.

My sister has this in Chicago at They love it there. Im glad it made it to Baltimore.

Grundy, sorry you think self checkouts are "stupid". I'm guessing your not a big fan of EZ Pass either. Most people dont like lines and waiting, but I guess you do.

DA, each beer dispenses 90 ounces. 90 x 2 = 180 ounces which is 11 beers.

I can't wait to ge to Mothers and use them.

This is some cool [stuff].

It's all about empowering the consumer. Freud would have a field day with this Alcohol Delivery System.

where i come from there are 12 ounces in a can of beer. how is 180 ounces equal to 11 beers?

I think this invention is not only innovative but makes sense for everyone! I was out this Saturday night and couldn't even enjoy myself waiting around for the bartender! Good luck Josh!!!!

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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