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-Originally posted on TINC Magazine-
Everyone has their own expectations for a night on the town. Some want to be surrounded by a young, loud crowd where they can let loose with friends and drink at a rapid progression. Others are looking for a calmer, quiet evening with a few buddies. Trying to find a bar that fits everyone’s preferences isn’t easy, and until now it meant taking risks and testing the waters at various locations throughout the city. Cue SceneTap, a tool aiming to make your nightlife easier, and slightly creepier.
This free phone application shows the demographic makeup of customers at participating bars in real time. That means users looking to scope out a member of the same or opposite sex can check male-to-female ratio in a particular bar before they decide where to go. Likewise, bar hoppers who want to go to a venue filled with customers of a similar age group can see how old patrons are. Or if users are looking for a quiet time out, they can check to see which bars have a smaller crowd. The app also offers daily deals on drinks and food and posts the nightly specials at various bars.
The startup launched in Chicago on July 22and has partnered with over 50 bars in the city to provide smartphone users with a unique social experience. Users know the scene of the bar they’ve never been to before they get there and know to avoid bars that won’t give them the social experience they’re looking for.
“The same questions pop up each time people go out: ‘Where should we go tonight? What type of crowd will it be? Are there any deals or specials we can take advantage of?’” said Cole Harper, co-founder and CEO of SceneTap. “With SceneTap, you can easily access that information and more in real-time. There’s no more guessing on what the scene will be like. Whether you’re a knowledgeable local or just touring the city, you can locate your ideal bar at the tap of a button.”
The app uses cameras in participating bars to scope out customers and their demographics. And this is where things get interesting. These cameras actually use face-recognition and “people counting” technologies to get all their info. For those concerned about their privacy, the company says it does not record any of this information and customers remain anonymous.
Users can check into bars and rank the venue, along with its specials and deals. They can also use the application within their Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare accounts. Without a smartphone, the casual web browser can also check the site for what a particular bar’s crowd is like in real time. The site allows users to add their input by commenting on what the scene is like at multiple bars.
The company maintains its application helps out bar goers while giving a boost to local businesses. They feature a number of Chicago bars on the site and phone application, so users can be introduced to new places whether they’re city natives or coming from out of town.
SceneTap plans to expand nationally and has garnered some attention from the likes of Business Insider, The Huffington Post and Mashable. The company has already established networks in various cities throughout the country such as Boston, Miami, New York, San Diego and “popular college towns.”