Jersey City bar unplugs from Wi-Fi, wants patrons to actually talk to each other

ByMallory Hoff WABC logo
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Jersey City bar wants patrons to disconnect from Wi-Fi, connect with each other
Mallory Hoff has the story

JERSEY CITY (WABC) -- A bar in Jersey City wants customers to put down the phone and pull up a stool.

Rather than trying to entice people with free Wi-Fi or the big game on TV, the owner wants people to simply enjoy each other's company.

In a 'connected' world, he is asking patrons to disconnect. The sign out front says it all: "No Wi-Fi, Talk to Each Other."

"It's been great," said pub owner Angelo Hatzipetrou. "People tend to stare at their cell phones and it kind of creates a very anti-social environment."

Hatzipetrou is trying to bring back the social aspect of going to a pub. And unlike most bars these days, McGinley Square Pub is a cell free zone.

"What are the rules here?," we asked. "The rules are that you must put your cell phone away," said Hatzipetrou.

Inside the 100 year-old building is an old school vibe indeed, complete with an antique cash register, board games and only one television, that Hatzipetrou says is for emergencies only.

So what happens if you are caught using your phone? We're told you you won't be asked to leave. But they may ask you to kindly put it away.

"Is this the first time all day you've put your phone away?," we asked one patron. "It is, yeah, I'm on my phone all day for work," he said.

"Look into a person's eye and have a nice conversation," said another woman.

So what's on tap? Aside from a social media time out, they place an emphasis on local craft beers. They don't sell brand name lager. The bartender says the overall concept is working.

"It's freshing to work at a place where people want to interact," said a bartender.

As he fixes an old-fashioned in an old fashioned scene, patrons realize they"ll have to step outside to text their friends to head over.