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Robots holding beer in front of wall
Photograph: SuppliedHeineken

Australia's first robotic bar opens in Darlinghurst today and drinks are on the house

Two robots, Heidi and Ken, will be handing out endless alcohol-free beers

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If you'd asked us what 2020 would be like when it was still a date far, far in the future, we wouldn't have predicted it would be quite this apocalyptic eventful. We just expected more hover boards, maybe some casual outer space vacations, and for everyone to walk around in those sleek, aerodynamic-looking silver spandex suits that would, in reality, be universally unflattering.

One thing that does fit into those wildly optimistic visions of the future is this: a new bar popping up in Darlinghurst manned exclusively by robots. Created in conjunction with engineers and students at the University of Sydney, a Heineken pop-up bar is opening in Darlinghurst from today, Wednesday 15, serving absolutely free beer. Crucially, however, it appears that the robots are yet to be programmed with RSA guidelines, because be warned: the beer being served is exclusively the zero-alcohol kind. I mean, it's free, but so is... water. Those who've been self-sacrificial enough to commit to Dry July in a year like this, this one's for you. 

Robotics expert and head of school at the University of Sydney, professor Stefan Williams, said in a press release: “We challenged some of our students, who recently completed an experimental robotics course, to create a robotic, contactless solution... The students programmed the robots to recognise when customers approach the bar and then hand them a beverage. Exploring this concept and putting it into practice, was a great way for our students to leverage the work they had done in their lab class."

The bar's two robots, Heidi and Ken, will be slinging an endless supply of alcohol-free beer from July 15 - July 19 at 249 Victoria Road, Darlinghurst. As New South Wales teeters on the edge of a potential lockdown again after certain hospitality venues have been identified as hotspots for virus clusters, you can rest easy knowing that your visit will be completely contact-free. The pop-up will only allow in one person at a time, so you can have the attention of both robots all to yourself. 

Psst. Here are the best underground bars in the city (serving actual alcohol).  

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