Meet the newest bartenders at Hard Rock Casino -- they're robots

Feel free to talk as much as you want to the newest bartenders at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi.

Just don't expect them to talk back. "Cheers," this ain't.

The "bartenders'' at the casino's new Robo Bar aren't there to lend a sympathetic ear. They're all about bringing in new customers interested in the latest on the Mississippi Gulf Coast bar scene, casino representatives said this week during the new bar's opening.

Robo Bar, set up in a spot in the front of the casino that houses some lobby furniture near the hotel check-in, features two robotic bartenders. Guests punch their order into tablets set up around the room. Those orders are sent to the robots, which resemble those one might find on an automotive assembly line.

Guests can gather their own cocktails at the end of the process or have their drinks ferried to them by servers who will work in the bar.

Hard Rock said the robotic bar is one of two in the United States. The other, Tipsy Robot, is on the Las Vegas strip.

Casino officials say the robots don't represent a move to eventually replace human bartenders, even though they say the bots can mix 120 drinks in an hour. Instead, they pitch the new bar as a way to up the casino's "cool'' factor - create a stir, if you will -- in the effort to capture more customers.

"We're not replacing employees with robots,'' said Megan McGuinness, a Hard Rock marketing consultant, adding that the robot bar will be the only one at the casino. "We still have bar backs and cocktail servers and IT people.''

McGuinnes said casino owners saw the robots in action on the Vegas strip and wanted to bring them to the Mississippi coast. She declined to discuss the cost for each robot, manufactured by the Italian company Makr Shakr.

"It's unique. It's cool,'' she said over the din of the grand opening party Thursday (Jan. 25), just hours before the public unveiling.  "We think it will really appeal to millennials.''

Carol Monroe of Dothan, Ala., isn't a millennial but she still enjoyed the robots.

"It's great,'' she said of the margarita she sipped. "And watching the robots make it was really fun. It's different.''

Will she drink regularly at the robot bar?

"I can see me having drinks here. It's a novelty,'' she said. "But I like the other bars, too. You gotta have that human touch.''

The bar is open Monday-Thursday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday hours are noon to 2 a.m. Sunday hours are noon to 9 p.m.