onthebar is a free mobile app that allows locals to connect with their favorite bartenders. Through the app, bartenders can let users know when they are working, or “on the bar,” as the industry lingo goes. Conversely, patrons can “check-in” to their favorite drinks within onthebar, guiding bartenders to recommendations based on those tastes.
The onthebar team quickly realized that the common denominator was alcohol. More specifically, bartenders were recommending spirits and patrons were enjoying spirits, but the spirit brands themselves never had a voice in the conversation.
Now, onthebar is launching “gigs,” a new feature that brings spirits into the mix. Essentially, gigs is an onthebar for brands. TJ Connelly, onthebar’s cofounder, explains:
Bartenders create cocktails using certain spirits and upload the recipe and photo to onthebar. They tag that recipe with a particular spirit, and as more people discover and enjoy the spirit through these drinks, bartenders unlock rewards from the brands that help expand their expertise like spirit tastings, and even a distillery visit to help make the spirits they’ve come to enjoy.
The beta program launches next week with local partners Bully Boy Distillers and Grand Ten Distilling. Through gigs, Grand Ten is highlighting their Wire Works American Gin and Angelica Liqueur, and Bully Boy will have their full lineup of spirits on the app. For the onthebar team, connecting with brands means monetizing their incredibly popular app.
For patrons, gigs means trusting your bartenders to guide you to new worlds of cocktail pleasures based on your previous likes. It also means looking really cool in front of your friends. “Patrons can check in with bartenders to unlock ‘off the menu’ recommendations for original cocktails using featured spirits,” explains Connelly.
The more you drink these featured spirits, the more your bartender earns in rewards, like tastings and distillery visits, to further their knowledge of their craft. And the better they are at their craft, the more you want to drink.
It’s a nice, boozy little circle of life, and I don’t hate it.
To download the onthebar app from the Apple Store, click here. For a slideshow of onthebar’s tastiest drinks, check out the slideshow below.