DressCode (iOS and Android)
Beginning with the basics, an app suited for the clubbing novice. Yes, you with the sandals and sequined Ed Hardy shirt. You’re looking hot, for real, but these doormen are a finicky lot. Don’t ruin your big night because you’re wearing the wrong outfit on the right night or, vice versa, the right outfit on Goth Night.
DressCode, now serving eleven U.S cities, including New York, Atlantic City and Las Vegas, has an easy-to-use interface. It lets you search for local nightclubs with the dress code and atmosphere you want. Use the “Filter” option to get a list of clubs down with your pink cowboy boots and go to town, but keep the Ed Hardy shirt at home. Trust.
Find My Tap (iOS and Android)
Okay, beer connoisseur, you’ve had it up to here with all these bars serving the same old variations of watered down suds. How can people be happy with such limited choices? Where’s the Saranac Pomegranate Wheat or the Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier?
Salvation has arrived in the form of Find My Tap, which locates your favorite beer in as close proximity as possible. Search through the extensive brew catalog, then click on, say, Zywiec Pilsner, and a list of bars that serve it on tap within a ten-mile radius pops up. Tag your favorite seasonal beers to keep tabs on when they come to a tap near you, or get notifications of new bars in your neighborhood.
Watch out if you rock the suburbs – that ten-mile search radius to the nearest watering hole may be too limiting. Also, Find My Tap relies on bartenders and patrons to update its lists, so if you live in New York, you’re sorted. Dry Ridge, KY, not so sorted.
Domino Street (iOS)
Manhattanites have long heard tall tales of a Brooklyn neighborhood across the river called Williamsburg. Legend says it’s rife with hipsters, dark alleys, and artisan ice cream. Think of Domino Street as a map to this uncharted territory.
Named after the Domino Sugar Factory along the East River waterfront, it not only pinpoints happy hours and nightclubs in Williamsburg and Greenpoint (The Burg’s more beardy northern neighbor), but also concerts, gallery shows, retail sales, and much more. It helps raise money for local causes too. Revenue from the ads you see goes to a local charity of your choice. That’s Brooklyn love, baby.
Flashlight by Surpax (iOS and Android)
Searching for an earring on a crowded dance floor is a recipe for head trauma. Having a flashlight app helps, but which one? Surpax touts itself as the brightest flashlight app out there, and it’s bright all right. Emanating from your iPhone’s tiny camera flash, a dial on the screen adjusts the intensity. Set it to strobe mode if you want a personal dance party inside a broom closet. It’s free, so it’s ad-supported, but don’t hate on the corporate overlords quite yet: the ads only take up one-tenth of the screen.
Shazam (iOS and Android)
Summer, 2008. You hear an obscure song while busting a move at Marquee, you press a button on your phone and in seconds the artist and song title appear. (That was Moby? Really?) It’s the first time an app blows you away. You think it’s magic.
Like Thor said in “Thor,” “Your ancestors called it magic, you call it science.” So how does Shazam work anyway? Its creators amassed a library of millions of songs, and they devised a way to extract a unique “fingerprint” from each tune by focusing on just its most intense, energetic bits, creating a code that’s short and easy to transmit. Shazam gets the code from a song, links it to their database, and boom, the impossible made possible.
Forget science, call it magic and keep on dancing.
The club scene is an amorphous animal, a nightly ebb and flow of what’s hot and what’s not. Staying ahead of the curve requires assistance. Iron Man has Jarvis, you have mynightCap.
MynightCap offers to-the-minute status reports on clubs in your area. Is Pharrell really playing a surprise DJ set, or is it just a ploy to get people in? Did a suite of stodgy stockbrokers just hijack your friend’s dubstep party? Search for your favorite club and find out how many people are there, right down to the crucial dude-to-babe ratio.
MynightCap is currently serving a bunch of West Coast cities, but co-founder Rene Durruthy says “We’re looking to expand across the U.S. soon with cities like New York, Miami, and Atlanta in our sights.”
So what’s Rene’s favorite spot in Vegas for a night cap or two? “You can’t go wrong with 1OAK or Haze! Good music and performances, great crowd and an awesome staff.”
Tablelist (for iOS)
It’s a spur-of-the-moment decision but it’s your birthday so you can do whatever you want. You’re going to the club and you’re getting a table, but it’s ten-to-midnight and you haven’t made a reservation. (Damn you spur-of-the-moment decision.) Don’t worry. You’re in luck.
Club owners want their tables filled. That’s why they log onto Tablelist, display the number of tables they’re looking to fill, and even add a discount to sweeten the deal. All you have to do is search the live-updated feed of available tables, and book away from the comfort of your couch.
You pay for it on your phone too, so when you finally arrive, you’re guided straight to your seat with no fuss, no muss.
Tablelist is winning accolades in Boston, and founder Julian Jung says, “Expect to see us in the major nightlife markets over the next couple of months. We already have some pretty solid partnerships lined up in these cities.”
Says Julian of booking his own tables for business or pleasure, “I guess when you’re in the business of providing pleasure it’s always a combination of the two.”
LiveHotSpot (iOS and Android)
Introducing another amazing real time club report app. What makes it stand out from the pack, according to founder James Awad, is that “It’s the only product out there that provides a service of real time, objective updates on what’s happening at nightlife and hospitality venues throughout Manhattan. We have no motive to give you false information. Our goal is to gain a sense of trust among our user base and for word to continue to spread so that eventually we are the number one source for all nightlife related news and updates.”
Sounds good, but what if the line outside the club stretches for miles and the bouncer doesn’t look happy. Can LiveHotSpot help the beleaguered find their way past the stanchions? James says, “LiveHotSpot is partnered with dozens of promotions companies who either run the night at select clubs each night of the week or are contracted to work there on a weekly basis. For these clubs, LiveHotSpot can get you to the front of line by e-mailing us directly at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Also, if you tweet at us throughout the night we can communicate with users that way.”
BuzzMe (iOS, Android)
Face it, some of your nightlife experiences are based on guilt, like that time you caught a cold but you shuffled through the snow to your friend’s birthday party anyway. Well, g’bye guilt, hola BuzzMe. Stay at home and use let this app access your Facebook information to locate the bar she’s at. Then, send a round of birthday shots directly to her table. Heck, throw in some mozzarella sticks while you’re at it. She feels your love, you feel like watching reruns of “Breaking Bad”: everybody wins.
BuzzMe is burning up Florida right now, but an amazing innovation like this won’t stay contained for long.
Don’t Dial! ($0.99, iOS, Android)
Okay, this last app isn’t exactly free. It’ll cost you a buck, but Don’t Dial! has the potential to save you from a whole lotta heartache. Don’t believe it? Remember calling that young woman you weren’t supposed to call but you called anyway because gin had a party with tonic in your bloodstream? Yeah, it’s coming back now, right? That night resulted in a black eye and a few less friends.
Until Apple invents a time machine, get this app and end your drunk dialing woes. Just select a contact from your phone, choose the time period you want to block them, and boom: a pleasant night with zero regrets.
IMPORTANT: If you delete this app while your contacts are blocked, you will lose the ability to restore them!