Food & Drink

Oh Snap(-off)! It’s a happy hour app-off


Here at the intersection of frugality and technology, we’re always on the lookout for the best of both worlds to help you save your hard-earned coin. That’s why the idea of a happy-hour sleuthing iPhone app most appeals to us: it’s the perfect tool for the brokester on the go who’ll never let a little thing like geographic naiveté stop them from seeking cheap booze. L Magazine rolled out the first app late last year, and now there are two, thanks to the Village Voice. Both deserve a toast, but which to get: L Magazine’s “Cocktail Compass” or Village Voice Media’s “Happy Hours” app? Here’s the rundown of each and our verdict.


Each tells you your distance from the bar (with a Google Map option) and the exact countdown time until the drink specials begin or end.

Cocktail Compass
Cocktail Compass

Cocktail Compass: full details, including times and drink deals and whether food is involved. Search for a bar by name, search the directory of all bars by borough, and tag your favorites. A cab option claims to tell you the best cab company to ring from your current location, but I was directed to the same taxi service from both my Brooklyn home and from the Financial District. Too late for happy hour? The app tells me to “search for open bars instead.” Really exciting, until I realized “open bar” meant the opposite of “closed,” not “the desirable status of the bar at your friend’s wedding.”

Happy Hours: search by location, day and time, food or drink specials, type of cuisine, features (including “after hours,” “dance floor,” and “live entertainment) and buzz (“kid friendly,” “people watching,” and “good for groups”). You can also rate the events via “like” or “eh” buttons and see the overall ratings for each location.

Happy Hours
Happy Hours


Cocktail Compass: iPhone users will appreciate Cocktail Compass’s information architecture, as it more closely resembles the layout of the iPhone itself, with smaller icons and fewer steps to retrieve information. The five major options are listed across the bottom. This could be due to the fact that there isn’t an extensive list of filtering options, making this tool more simple.

Happy Hours: a little overwhelming. They could have made more of the filter options available on the front page, like CC. It takes a lot of tapping to several different windows to achieve the specific filter I want.

The Verdict

Cocktail Compass=Mac and Happy Hours=PC with all the bells and whistles, and slightly clunky operating system.


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