Sometimes, venturing away from your preferred watering hole to uncharted tippling territory can be an uncomfortable exercise. It can also result in some serendipitous finds. If you’re brave enough to put that choice in the hands of an app before acquiring any liquid courage, you should probably give Bar Roulette a shot (pun intended). The app randomly chooses highly-rated bars in the city and books Uber rides to get you there, all while keeping destinations a secret.
Bar Roulette first launched about a year ago in the form of a web app. Its unique ability to whisk users away to a surprise destination safely was made possible by the Ride Request API that Uber introduced at the time; the feature allows developers to have users book rides from within third-party apps. The phenomenal response Bar Roulette received on launch led creator Tyler Swartz to begin work on a native mobile app. The iOS app launched recently, and manages to keep alive and well the fun premise on which the service was founded.
Users can begin an evening of bar-hopping with Bar Roulette by signing into the app using their Uber account. All you need to do then is request a ride within a general radius or locality in the city. Within a few minutes, your ride will show up to ferry you away to an undisclosed bar within the preset boundaries. Bar Roulette automatically books UberX rides at the moment. Swartz revealed on Product Hunt that he is considering introducing options for what type of Uber ride (UberX, UberXL, Black, LUX etc.) users would like.
While you’re waiting for your ride to show up, Bar Roulette connects with Yelp to find the top-rated bars in the location you’ve picked. It then randomly chooses one of the bars and conveys to Uber what your destination is. Users themselves are left in the dark as to which bar they’re heading to and only find out when they show up at the destination.
For an additional $2.99 Bar Roulette integrates data from FourSquare. This makes it possible to whittle down the list of potential bars based on price and keep record of where you’ve been – a feature that you may or may not require depending on how much drinking you do.
Bar Roulette was the first web and iOS app Swartz ever made; he conceived the idea as part of the final project for a programming class. The service is still in its early days, but Swartz already has a backlog of requested features on which to work. His most immediate aim is to enable the app to eliminate certain bars if users have already checked in there on FourSquare; this will ensure they are taken somewhere new, adding to the originality of the already novel experience.
Prateek Jose is a writer and engineering undergrad from India with an unhealthy obsession for obscure historical trivia. Conversations about absurdist fiction and the technological singularity make his day. He’s already uploading parts of his brain to servers by writing for websites such as this one.