Hove bar blocks mobile phone signals to get people chatting

A cocktail bar in Hove, East Sussex has blocked mobile phone signals, in a bid to stop people from staring at their screens and actually talk to each other instead.

Mobile phones are pretty awesome most of the time… except when you're at the pub. How many conversations have been derailed by people drifting off to Facebook? How many fun arguments defused by pesky fact checking? And don't even get us started on pub quizzes.

Steve Tyler, of the Gin Tub, seems particularly against our pocket pals. He's built a Faraday cage into his bar - that's a metal construction that traps electromagnetic waves outside so mobile phone signals can't get in.

Tyler wants to try to force people to interact with each other face to face again, and blames social media for "killing pubs".

He said: "If the person you are with goes to the bathroom, the problem with mobiles is they insulate you from talking to other people. I want you to enjoy the experience of going out."

If you do feel the need to make a call, you can use one of the old-style phones on each table, which let you either phone another table for a random chat or, more importantly, order more drinks.

Not everyone's convinced that the Gin Tub will be a success though. Social Media expert Zoe Cairns told the BBC that turning off mobile access will be a turn off for patrons.

"Mobile phones are every part of our life now and if we go into a bar, a club and we are looking for our phones, it does take away that socialising aspect of it," she said,

"But I do believe [the idea] is going to isolate that particular generation."

Source: BBC

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