A pub in Sussex, England is using old technology to bring authentic conversation back into the bar.
Owner Steve Tyler has turned The Gin Tub into a cell phone-free space by making it into a Faraday cage. By installing copper wire mesh into the ceiling and tin foil on the walls, Tyler reflected the electromagnetic fields and conducted the currents around the space, blocking cell-phone signals.
Tyler says the business has become “less and less social and more and more antisocial,” so he’s brought back the conversation and put up a sign to make sure visitors know the situation: “No Wi-Fi, no signal, just friends.”
His Faraday cage doesn’t jam phones with a signal, so it is completely legal, and Tyler says that people are enjoying the difference in atmosphere that his establishment provides. House phones are supplied at individual tables so that patrons may order their drinks from the bar or initiate interaction with another table, but house rules require that callers buy the other table a drink.
In this way, phones have been redirected to their original purpose of communication in The Gin Tub. Tyler says that these creative changes are different, but that it’s a welcome change:
“I think I’ve hit a nerve in the world, that I think it’s rude, and I think society has accepted people on their phones in bars and in places where it’s socially unacceptable,” he says.
Now, his patrons are talking with each other rather than staring at their phones, which is a step towards Tyler’s idea — a pub where everyone knows your name.