I was talking with a friend about a fascinating idea for a bar the other day and decided I absolutely must share it with you all. Here’s the idea: the bar’s drink prices will vary according to demand in the same way that stock prices reflect market demand. In other words, if there’s a rush to buy Heineken, the price of Heineken will increase and will make Carlsberg look relatively more attractive (cheaper). The same applies for all drinks the bar offers: shots, mixed drinks, wine, beer, etc… Below is an example of what you might see on the TV in the bar instead of a standard menu (courtesy of The Drink Exchange):
That’s the bare bones of the idea, but here’s where it starts to get really interesting: what if you could buy options and futures on drinks? If the price of Heineken at 9pm is $4 per bottle, and knowing that the price will likely increase as the night goes on, you could enter into a futures contract on three bottles of Heineken now to buy them for $4.50 each in 2 hours, possibly saving you money in the future.
One more level of excitement still: what if you could sell these contracts to other bar patrons? You might get a slip of paper detailing the order and you could start to make a profit by betting on the direction of drink prices at certain times. Finally, to cap off this growing excitement, what if you could do all of this online, before even getting to the bar?
I think all of this is an amazing idea because it’s fun, simple, easy to do, and can be a consistent source of traffic to the bar during the week. In addition to all this, I believe that it would also promote increased socialization amongst those in the bar as they discuss price fluctuations and future orders.
This isn’t a completely new idea, and there are a few of these bars around Europe and Asia. One example is Bar La Bolsa in Barcelona, Spain, where they use demand-based pricing for drinks , but as far as I know do not have options and futures contracts available. Another is Market Bar in London, England, though they use a reverse demand-pricing model in which prices decline as demand picks up, which doesn’t make much sense to me (reverse demand pricing + patron collusion = no profits), but is still interesting. They are also exploring options and futures contracts.
I’m not sure why this idea hasn’t yet picked up more speed, but I can only hope it does so I can visit a bar like this soon. If you know of any other bars or companies using this idea, especially any in the US, please leave a comment because I’d love to learn more.