So, you’re looking for a pint of beer at a discounted price? There’s an app for that. Actually, there are a couple. But which one will find you the best deal come happy hour? We tested out three popular apps designed to find early bird drink specials near you. Which one did we like best?
Happy Houred is a free app that locates you via GPS, then offers you the option of choosing the type of bar you’re seeking (wine bar, beer garden, hipster bar, biker bar), your tipple of choice (beer, wine, cocktails, shots), and what time you’re looking to get your drink on. Lock in your preferences and press the “search” button for your results, which are automatically mapped. Of the three, this app returned the most results, including a good number of smaller neighborhood bars. There are options to add new bars and save your favorites. A good choice if you’re stranded in an unfamiliar neighborhood around 5 p.m. and thirsty.
Cocktail Compass, also free, is brought to you by L Magazine, and is more basic in format. It, too, geo-maps you upon loading, and immediately lists nearby bars offering cheap drinks. A fun feature here is the countdown for each listing to the end of that establishment’s happy hour. It also gives you the number of the nearest cab company should your hour be a particularly happy one. There is no mapping option, however, and there were fewer bars listed than with Happy Houred. This one might come in handy if you’re trying to beat the clock and aren’t put off by popular, packed bars.
At $2, the Happy Hour App promises to filter through the crappier bars to find the best happy hour near you. Unfortunately, what this seems to mean is omitting small neighborhood places in favor of more popular bars. It offers the option to list nearby bars, map them, or let you search for a specific establishment. One useful feature is the option to filter out cash-only bars — ideal for when you’re so poor you have to search for drink specials and pay for them on credit.