UNITED CENTER — Chicago Bulls fans couldn't have been happier about Saturday's playoff game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Arena concessionaire Levy Restaurants debuted two DraftServ machines at Saturday's game, which the Bulls won by double digits.
I had tickets to the game and, along with my brother/videographer, wanted to see how the machines compared to the arena's human bartenders.
We arrived to the United Center when gates opened at 4:30 p.m., and, in the name of journalism, were the first people in the stadium to try DraftServ out.
The machines are posted by the Goose Island Pub in the southeast corner of the United Center. We got ID'd by the cashier, who sold prepaid cards that customers tap to activate the machines. Guests can buy $20 or $50 cards, whose values roll over from game to game but will expire after the Bulls' and Blackhawks' 2015 postseason runs. I bought a $20 card.
Each DraftServ machine has four taps serving Budweiser, Bud Light, Goose Island 312 and Stella Artois. Customers pay by the ounce. I did the math, and a 20 oz. Bud Light poured by DraftServ costs $8.50 including tax, the same as the Bud Light drafts poured at any of the United Center bars (sans tip).
Customers tap the machine with their card to start pouring for 20 seconds, or until the card runs out of money, whichever takes longer. There is no limit on total service per game, but customers can only pour 40 ounces every 10 minutes. Fans at Saturday's game seemed to serve themselves with little difficulty.
Levy is introducing the machines on a trial run this postseason, but one can imagine the concessionaire would like DraftServ to catch on among United Center guests so the company can install more and cut costs.
One veteran server at the United Center later Saturday shared the suspicion.
"I think they're trying to get rid of us," she said.
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