The holiday season usually involves plenty of social events and family get-togethers, and they all tend to involve drinking, or heavy drinking if you happen to have one of those black sheep uncles who show up once a year to ruin things for everyone else.
This year drunken uncles all over the world will be able to pay for a few pints using nothing but bitcoin. However, it is not as easy as it seems and the choice remains limited. There are still relatively few establishments that accept bitcoin payments. We were hoping to do a feature on bitcoin beer on five continents, but sadly we came up short.
1. Old Fitzroy, Sydney
The land of Fosters and Holdens has a bitcoin pub and as a result the whole gets a thumbs-up from bitcoin beer lovers. Aussies have the Old Fitzroy of Sydney to thank for getting on the list. The Old Fitzroy is a very traditional pub, but it also happens to be the only pub in Australia to accept bitcoin, or at least the only one we know of.
The bitcoin push was launched in late September, with an event dubbed ‘Beer for Bitcoins’. Also we would like to point out that Fosters and Holdens are a very bad combination, so please drink responsibly.
2. 2nd Place, Beijing
Moving north, if you happen to be doing business in the Glorious People’s Republic of China, you can grab a bitcoin beer at Beijing’s Cafe Bar 2nd Place. It is a small but stylish spot located in Beijing’s Wudaokou neighbourhood, some 10km from the city centre.
Although this might a bit too far from the bustle of downtown, bear in mind that we are talking about Beijing, so Wudaokou is bigger than many European capitals and it is home to several universities and research institutes. As a result it also has plenty of bars and nightclubs for students and geeks, including China’s first bitcoin bar.
3. Killfish bars, Russia
If you’ve already had enough beer, perhaps it is time to reset with a shot of vodka, or three. Russian bar franchise Killfish recently started accepting bitcoin and it is hands down the biggest provider of bitcoin booze at the moment.
The franchise has bars in 25 Russian cities, from posh St. Petersburg and downtown Moscow to the industrial city of Chelyabinsk, which was practically constructed from scratch to build thousands of T-34 tanks, causing much dismay to a certain failed painter from Austria. The city also has a nasty habit of attracting meteorites, leading locals to joke about their tank city being so tough that it actually rains meteorites.
The Killfish franchise is still expanding and it is known for aggressive marketing backed by cheap booze and food.
4. EMG Faktors, the Netherlands
The Chelyabinsk tanks made it all the way to Germany, but they did not venture into the Netherlands, which means there are no Killfish bars there. Luckily EMG Faktors in Groningen is accepting bitcoins, using the NUVOPOS system developed by Dutch company Bitcoin Cafe specifically for the hospitality industry.
Many readers are probably wondering whether it is possible to buy something else with bitcoin in the Netherlands, but as far as we could tell EMG Faktors is not that sort of coffee shop. It remains to be seen whether NUVOPOS will gain more traction in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe for that matter.
5. The Pembury Tavern, London
Brits still love their traditional pubs and technology, so it is hardly surprising that Individual Pubs Ltd has decided to embrace bitcoin in five of its pubs: the Coalheavers Arms in Peterborough, the Pembury Tavern in East London, the White Lion in Norwich, the Devonshire Arms in Cambridge and the Haymakers, also in Cambridge.
Individual Pubs owner Stephen Early does not describe himself as a bitcoin evangelist, but he believes the digital currency has a lot of potential and it allows business owners to offer services that are out of reach of traditional credit cards. Unsurprisingly he is a former computer scientist from the University of Cambridge.
6. Numerous bars in the US
The phrase "there’s no such thing as a free lunch" originated in America, but at one point it was simply not true. During the heyday of American saloons, long before the temperance movement managed to enact the disastrous 21st Amendment, many saloons were indeed offering a free lunch to all patrons. They simply gave them salty crackers and similar foods and made their money selling beer to salt laden saloon goers.
Things have moved on since then, but American barkeeps are as innovative as ever and a few of them have started accepting bitcoin to lure more customers.
A Baltimore bar started accepting bitcoin recently. The Bad Decisions bar in Fells Point allows patrons to pay for their tab in bitcoin. It also happens to be aptly named for anyone who entered the bitcoin market a few weeks ago, hoping for a huge return.
Earlier this year the EVR Bar in Manhattan started accepting bitcoin, which is hardly surprising since it is co-owned by Charlie Shrem, CEO of BitInstant.com.
It should be noted that BitInstant suspended services in July this year after receiving numerous complaints from customers who claimed their transactions were delayed, or that they never received their bitcoin. BitInstant got a $1.5m investment from the Winklevoss twins to scale up and improve services, but at this point it is unclear what its ultimate fate will be.
As always, CoinDesk advises you to drink (and invest) responsibly. Bitburger is in no way affiliated with bitcoin, but aside from having a fitting name it also happens to be a decent German beer.
Beer bottle image via Shutterstock