Innovation That Matters

Bars use technology to blend online and offline interaction

Food & Drink

We’ve already seen a few uses of interactive technology in bars—both at the Adour Wine Bar in New York and in iBar installations around the globe—but until recently, we hadn’t yet come across a bar that incorporates an online component in its patrons’ interactions. That’s exactly what South Africa’s MiWorld does, however, with a website, a digital wall and touchscreen tables that facilitate both digital and real-world conversation. To participate in MiWorld, consumers must be invited and given a secret code, which allows them to register online. Then, when they’re ready to head out, they can choose one of two bricks-and-mortar locations in Johannesburg: MiBar Martini, a contemporary cocktail bar in the Design District of Rosebank, or MiLounge Martini, a sophisticated cocktail, champagne and wine bar with a lounge atmosphere in Melrose’s Blu Bird Shopping Centre. In August, a third option—MiCafe—will launch in Rosebank, and there are occasional pop-up “MiEvents” at varying locations as well. Whichever locale they choose, members must first log in at the door. Then, once inside, they can order off the interactive MiTables, e-chat with patrons at neighbouring tables and even different MiLocations, sign into Facebook, view the menu and access the MiWorld network to view exclusive content and special offers. MiWorld is the brainchild of South African LiquidChefs. We’ve been writing about what our sister site calls the off=on trend for a while now, but this is surely one of the clearest illustrations we’ve seen. Hospitality entrepreneurs around the globe: time to infuse some online oxygen into your own offerings? (Related: Hotel helps guests connect onlineAirline’s social networks connect frequent flyersShopping by invitation.) Spotted by: Jordan Wainer



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