Etiquette experts and card-stock enthusiasts on The Knot.com's forums seem to constantly disagree about whether to mention the open bar on a wedding invitation or reception insert. But literally every single wedding guest will tell you that those are the first two words that they look for.
And a just-opened St. Louis joint hopes that locals will be equally psyched about having an open bar in the neighborhood, especially since it doesn't require attending anybody's wedding or buying a set of salad plates. On Friday, Open Concept celebrated its grand opening, and it launched its, uh, concept too: for $10 an hour, you get all the booze you want. And on Saturdays, it plans to serve bottomless mimosas, unlimited bellinis, and a buffet brunch for 20 bucks an hour.
Open Concept's owner, Michael Butler, says that the bar doesn't sell drinks, it sells time. Butler, who also has a second gig as the city's official recorder of deeds, told St. Louis Magazine that he got the idea from his campaign's own fundraising parties.
“I would hold events where we charged by the hour for admission and have an open bar,” he said. “We got a lot of presale tickets online, and we created large-batch drinks in order to cut costs.” That made him start thinking about the possibilities for a full-time bar that took the same approach.
And yeah, he has a plan for preventing his customers from rolling in, dropping a $10 bill on the bar, and spending the next 59 minutes getting absolutely shitfaced. First, before anyone can book an hour of time at Open Concept—yes, he's banking on everyone's ability to plan ahead—they'll have to create a profile so they can receive a confirmation code.
That code is then used for their drink orders, too. The bartenders know better than to serve a customer more than one drink at a time, and the bar's top-secret system will somehow calculate the appropriate rate of consumption to keep everyone from being overserved. Butler also says that the bartenders will scan everyone's driver's license and "use a patron’s height and weight" to ensure that they're not drinking too much, too fast. (We're predicting that absolutely zero people will be excited about having to tell the bartender their weight just so they can get a third rum punch.)
According to Open Concept's website, it currently serves a dozen different cocktails, and has three beers on tap, including Bud Light and Budweiser Select. Its wine list also includes Franzia red wine and Franzia white wine. "We find the best red wine for the best value and serve it to you at its peak of flavor," it says. (OK, sure, but where does the Franzia come in?)
It's still better than a wedding reception, though. There's no way Butler and his guess-your-weight bartenders are gonna make you listen to that "Wagon Wheel" song.
Michael Butler, the owner of Open Concept, provided the following additional information to VICE.
"We in no way check people weights, ask for weights, or scan IDs. We also do not assign drink limits. The St. Louis Magazine reporter got this wrong. This has been a horrible rumor began by that article that I hope Vice would not participate in. We use the eye test to determine whether to stop serving people drinks if people are visibly intoxicated like all other bars, and as a requirement by law."