Canadian Bar Locks Smartphones Away So Patrons Actually Enjoy Each Other’s Company

Social outings today are often plagued by people checking texts and surfing the web on their smartphones at every opportunity. At least one restaurant is actively combating this epidemic in Canada.

The Score on Davie, a Vancouver bar, has installed lockboxes at every booth. The boxes lock smartphones up for the duration of the patrons’ visit. Participation is optional (though I wish it weren’t).

“It encourages people to speak face to face instead of being on their phones,” Score’s owner Jesse Ritchie told local newspaper The Province. “Everyone in the industry sees it—the group sits down, there’s six people and they’re all on their phones, texting or Instagramming their food.”

Quoth The Province:

The lockboxes, an idea originally suggested by Score server Ian Kampman, are a next-level twist on an existing bar game called the phone stack that is becoming increasingly popular among bar and pub patrons. In the original practice, friends put their phones in a stack in the middle of the table at the beginning of the meal. If someone is unable to go the entire meal without checking a phone, that person is left to pick up the tab.

“You’re losing a lot of the culture,” Ritchie added, noting servers and bartenders aren’t interacting with customers anymore because patrons are usually glued to smartphone screens.

The Score says the lockboxes, which were installed last week, have already seen use.