Cocktail Bar Battles Cell-Phone Zombies with Foil-Lined Walls

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Ever find yourself at a restaurant feeling frustrated that your tablemates — friends, family, co-workers — are all glued to their phones, texting, emailing or posting images and messages on social media instead of, you know, actually making conversation with the people sitting directly across from them?

A British cocktail bar owner has taken aim at this problem in a big, bold way: by installing copper wire mesh in the ceiling and silver foil in the walls of his establishment in order to block access to the internet. Apparently, this sort of metal-wrapped signal blocker has a name: a “Faraday cage.”

“I’ve seen it progressively get worse and worse and I thought, ‘I want to stop this,'” Steve Tyler, the owner of the Gin Tub, in Hove, England, told the BBC. “I want people to socialize with the people they are with, rather than the people they are not with.”

Tyler’s not totally anti-phone, though: Every table has an old-fashioned landline phone “so you can call the bar and order your drink,” the establishment’s Facebook page notes.

You can also make table-to-table calls. “Fancy a chat with another table? Just give them a call — but house rules mean you have to buy them a drink,” the bar’s website warns.

Tyler also plans to have a designated mobile-phone area outside the bar so his customers can step out to make contact with those outside its metal-lined walls, if need be. Plus, the bar has a regular landline for emergency calls.

He says his experiment has proven to be a big hit with patrons. In the week or so that the bar has been open, “I’ve had one complaint from a customer, and it was that she got a signal,” Tyler said. “We moved her to another table.”

Curses! Foiled again?

Photo courtesy of iStock