Chihuahua Julep, a cocktail bar open in the center of Helsinki, Finland, in August, has banned customers from using smartphones within the facility to encourage “real-world” interaction.
Initially, the owners of Chihuahua Julep encouraged only visitors to put away their smartphones so that the light of their screens did not spoil the atmosphere of the bar, but after seeing that those who followed the recommendation seemed more relaxed and at the same time more engaged in conversations with their friends, they decided to impose an absolute ban. Now, anyone who wants to enjoy a drink inside the room must deliver their phone upon arrival.
The owner Jami Jarvinen said that some people are protesting against the ban, especially young people and parents eager to stay in touch with their children, but most customers have welcomed the opportunity to “relax without the sounds and the buzzing of smartphones”.
“It’s nice to see that it was the right decision. People really need a moment in their hectic daily lives to relax without these devices, and many would not do it if we did not decide to impose the ban,” Jarvinen told Finnish TV station Yle. “Social interaction is so different when phones are not there. Many people would like to reduce the use of smartphones but they can not do it, “said Jarvinen.
Smartphone and social media addiction is a hot topic in Finland, with some experts claiming that about 90% of users in the north of the country are dependent on their smartphones. Others have asked to introduce the prohibition of smartphones in schools and therapies for Internet addiction.
Julep Chihuahua is not the first bar in the world to prohibit smartphones. A couple of years ago, the owner of The Gin Tub, a pub in Brighton, in the UK, had installed a Faraday cage around the room, so as to completely block all the signals from cell phones.