Shots on Plastic, How Fantastic

New cashless bar set to open in Stalybridge

I’ve grown accustomed to the Cashless Society, albeit in the literal sense of late. Can you cast your mind to the last time you saw somebody doing ‘the big shop’ with a cheque book or a wad of notes? Or, have you ever bought a round on a credit or debit card instead of cash? Do you feel annoyed when somebody’s trying to order two pints of lager with a debit card on a busy Friday?

By the end of August, a new concept in licensed premises is set to reach the North West of England: the cashless bar. Though many would expect the centre of Manchester to pioneer this, with its high student population, the North West’s first cashless bar will be in…


Yes, Stalybridge, late of the noughties Staly Vegas tag fame. The brainchild of this is Paul Brammer, a 44 year-old digital marketing consultant and the ‘Clubbing Network’. Situated on 88 Market Street, the new bar will be called the ‘Top End Bar Two’. It is set to open on the 30 August this year. With digital payment methods fast becoming the norm, it’ll only be a matter of time when fellow drinkers give dirty looks to customers paying with cash.

There will be greater use of Electronic Point of Sale systems for ticket management on certain dates and integration of cashless payments. All credit and debit cards using Chip and Pin and Contactless methods will be accepted. As well as credit and debit cards, it’ll be possible to pay for your round through your mobile phone. For persons without debit or credit cards, electronic payments could also be made with waterproof wristbands.

What’s more, bar staff will be freed from handling cash, which would be safer for them as well as less time consuming.

The social side of digital technologies will include integration with social networking sites like Facebook and Foursquare. This could be used for targeted promotions subject to user discretion. On the other hand, some critics might assume the technology could be used to monitor drinking habits. If anyone misbehaves, detection would be more traceable thanks to the customer’s ‘digital thumbprint’.

Wannabe customers will need to register, akin to a private members’ club or an online shopping site. Details of which will be made available nearer the opening time.

East of the M60 wishes Paul Brammer and his team the very best with this venture. In the near future, we shall see if the beer’s well kept and whether the atmosphere is vibrant enough.

S.V., 22 July 2013.


5 thoughts on “Shots on Plastic, How Fantastic

Add yours

  1. I can see a flaw here in this plan that I have experienced a few times over the past couple of years……. machines are not infallible.

    I have been confronted with the phrase “sorry, cash only, the card machine’s not working at the moment” when hoping to get a few drinks in for some friends. Normally this is not too much of an issue: if I don’t have enough cash on me it’s not hard to borrow some or pop out to a cash machine and then come back for some hard earned refreshment :).

    With a cash free bar however, there is no chance of the bar being able to stay open under these circumstances, from the staff not having any float behind the bar to use in an emergency, to the time it would no doubt take to add up 6 or 7 items for each person accurately. If this was to happen on a Friday/Saturday night, the results could be quite painful.


    1. Hi Ady,

      Good point, especially considering any lost business if the system has crashed. Or if the network’s lost a connection.

      The system would have to be watertight enough to deter hackers. Therefore, servers and databases would need to be updated outside opening times.

      Here’s a paper system which could be adopted if the server or network has gone down. This was used at a beer festival in Billericay:

      I cannot see there not being a small float for emergency use. There probably would have to be one somewhere.

      Bye for now,



  2. the comments what I have herd so far are good n sum curious?. what people in this living era don’t like is change and when there is something new around the corner they question things ,what I have learnt in life is that if u don’t try it u wont no what its like and if this venture that Paul has been working on comes good hopefully it will b the norm everywhere…….#Danny#


    1. Hi Danny,

      It will turn a few heads and confuse a few people from the start. Some haven’t got over the fact they can get a round on a credit or debit card yet, but some may still use cash because it is faster. Even so, card only self-service tills have become the norm in superstore chains; Argos has also had a similar system in their showrooms for the last three years.

      I can see cashless bars becoming the norm in urban areas, particularly in city centres and streets with a large concentration of bars (i.e. Yorkshire Street, Oldham). Some pubs on housing estates might adopt the concept as a security measure. I doubt as if rural areas would warm to this concept in the next year. Maybe five years time I suppose.

      It is bold enough to start a cashless bar in our area, but even bolder to begin the concept in Stalybridge rather than central Manchester. Good luck to him!

      Bye for now,



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