A new Chicago-based app wants you to never go to a lame bar again.
Current Nightlife lets you discover the vibe of local bars and clubs in real-time, before actually leaving your house. The app’s feed shows video of what’s happening inside nearby establishments, and gives you deals to further entice you to visit.
The goal is to give people a sense of what to expect before arriving, and to highlight the happening hot spots around town, founder Michael Haapaniemi said.
“Platforms like Yelp and Foursquare offer static information—reviews, photos, etc. While that may be helpful for restaurants, it doesn’t answer the key question that’s central to nightlife, which is: ‘What’s happening tonight?’ We designed Current to bridge that information gap,” he said.
The free app first launched in January and has accumulated 2,000 users, Haapaniemi said.
Inside the bar or club, anyone can post video of their experience—whether it’s the bar owner or a patron—and the vertical video appears on the user’s feed, similar to Snapchat.
The startup is currently pre-revenue, and it plans to make money by charging a monthly fee to venues who want to send exclusive invites and offers to patrons. Venues will also have the opportunity to pay to promote their content on the app’s “discovery page,” Haapaniemi said.
Venues can also do specific audience targeting, allowing them to send messages only to a specific gender or age group, for example, with messages like, “Free champagne for ladies before midnight,” or “Zac Brown Band performing tonight,” Haapaniemi added.
The idea of real-time updates of bars and clubs isn’t entirely new. SceneTap, a Chicago startup that set out to give users real-time information on popular places, eventually pivoted to a B2B model that gives live foot traffic and demographic analytics to retail and hospitality companies. And New York-based Roo is a crowd-sourced app that allows users to check in and report on the scene at bars and clubs.
Haapaniemi said the startup’s next steps are to make final tweaks to the app, add venue partners in Chicago, expand to new cities and add an Android version.