For bar and pub drinkers bored by their regular social company, Belgian beer brand, Stella Artois and Internet consumer-site beer.com have set up a network of web-cameras, called StellaCam.

It is supposedly the world's first two-way interactive webcam allowing users to drink beer with punters across the globe through high-speed connections with a video and audio link.

For the equivalent of US$7.00, (including tax and tip, which is charged to a credit card), pub and bar goers can buy a drink via cyberspace and chat with someone for 15 minutes in 10 cities around the world, namely Brussels, Budapest, Edinburgh and London plus Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco in the US and Toronto and Vancouver, in Canada.

Additional destinations will be online by mid-summer, as populist drinkers' site beer.com aims to install a StellaCam in busy bars sited in every populous time zone around the world.