A new crop of apps let you order alcohol without ever talking to a human being.
Right now, I'm drinking Prosecco out of a styrofoam cup that I ordered from a smartphone app 10 minutes ago. Somehow, this feels like the future.
Seamless and other food delivery apps have existed a few years now, and you've been able to order things like Phrosties and other extremely sketchy alcoholic concoctions using Instagram and other social media for a bit, but a slew of new companies are taking the practice above board.
I tried out Minibar, which launched on Android today (it's been around on iOS for a while now). And let me tell you: Ordering alcohol this easily could get dangerous, quickly—at least for your bank account. It also feels like something I could have really used a couple years ago, when I often found myself leaving a party to re-up on booze right before liquor stores closed.
Right now, the service is only available in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Hamptons. A competitor app called Drizly operates in Boston, New York, the Hamptons, Chicago, and Los Angeles. I'm sure Drizly works just fine, but I tried out Minibar simply because I heard about it first. I poked around Drizly and it looks well designed, but not quite as classy as Minibar.
Anyway, we like champagne and other wines that come with corks that can be shot at something here at Motherboard, so I ordered up two bottles—a Prosecco called Ca' Furlan, and something called a Lini 910 Labrusca Rosso Emilia, which is a sparkling red wine (spoiler alert: It wasn't delicious). Ten minutes after ordering, a delivery man was outside our office, with the freezing cold bottles. Then he was on his way.
I'm not positive it's going to work this well at 11 PM on a Friday night when you've run out of booze at a party, but it sure worked quickly on a Monday afternoon. Just as food delivery usually gets delayed during snowstorms, I'm sure alcohol delivery services are going to be bogged down during partying hours.
Everything is above board—alcohol delivery isn't illegal in most parts of the country, and you have to show your ID when the delivery guy shows up, or face a $20 restocking fee. I talked with the guy who delivered my bubbly for a couple minutes—he told me that his store is increasingly getting orders through Minibar, Drizly, and the incredibly-named Booze Carriage, and that it really is not much different than Seamless.
Honestly, there's not too much more to say about the app other than the fact that it just works—as evidenced by the fact that it's getting progressively harder to wrap this post up as I make my way through the bottle.