Can I text you a drink? The bar scene in some major cities could soon be virtually more interesting, and perhaps more bold as the social app BarEye lets you use your Galaxy Tab to pick up the tab, or you give someone the "eye" via your iPhone.
Available via Google Play for Android devices or Apple's App Store for iOS, BarEye lets you check in to participating establishments and identify other people who are using the app, or any of your Facebook friends who happen to be in the room. You can then decide to chat in real time through the app and/or buy drinks for that potential soulmate or one-night stand via a voucher. Some bars will give you a free drink just for checking in.
Seeking Multiple Partners
It was previously available only in Tallahassee, Fla., where it was launched in February by Florida State University graduate Andrew Bennett and partner Jonathan Vilma, a linebacker with the New Orleans Saints, who is adding some celebrity to the promotion.
On Thursday, BarEye announced that it will expand to Atlanta, Austin, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. But it may be awhile before you can use it in any of those cities. Like its users, BarEye is seeking partners.
"When you go into the app you see which bars are available to you," a BarEye spokeswoman, Holly Jacobis, told us.
As of the launch date there were only 17 partner bars, all in Tallahassee.
The app is free and BarEye's revenue comes from a 20 percent cut of the drinks ordered. Bars benefit from increased business and the ability to promote specials and events. The app may later feature advertising from third parties.
Jacobis said there have been "over 10,000" downloads since the Tallahassee launch. Google Play lists it as between 1,000 and 5,000 downloads. Apple doesn't disclose download figures. Both warn of potential mature content because of "the nature of social media," Jacobis said.
The company bills itself as a new revenue stream for bars, clubs and chains by transforming the virtual social scene of Facebook and other social media to a physical setting where people can spend real money on drinks and food.
"BarEye is breaking ground and offering a new way for consumers to buy drinks and interact simultaneously with each other and the bars or venues they are attending," Vilma said in a statement. "I've been a bar owner for several years now and seen how quickly people get on their phones to check-in on social networks or text friends after ordering a drink."
BarEye has held contests to reward people who buy the most drinks with cash prizes, and is now seeking out "franchisees" who will essentially beta test the product. For a $2,500 fee the franchisee will get an exclusive area of a city and will be responsible for promoting and troubleshooting the service, and will split revenues with the bars in their area and BarEye.
BarEye is available for both tablets and smartphones, but currently optimized for phone use.