Courtesy of A.J. Veleta
Social life for campus area party-goers could become easier with the introduction of a smartphone application that puts many of the local bars’ drink specials, Twitter accounts and live video feed of their main floors a touch away.
The web application, called BarView 614, is the project of a team of Ohio State students and alumni assembled by A.J. Veleta, a fourth-year in international business, and it is in its final stages after three years of development.
BarView 614 will not be an app available for purchase in the Apple App Store or Android Market, but is simply a mobile version of the website.
Set for a Wednesday debut, BarView 614 aims to gather the information most vital to bar-goers of all their favorite campus party spots and put it all in one place, allowing users to virtually bar-hop with ease.
“What we’re trying to do is just to help the user find the kind of bar experience that they’re looking for at that time, on that night,” Veleta said.
“I came up with the idea about three years ago,” he said, “when I realized there was no great way to see what was going on in the nightlife arena. I thought to myself, ‘if there was a way that within two to five minutes on my phone I could find out what was going on in the bars around town, it would make my night a lot more fun.'”
On the demo version of the app found online at www.barview614.com, users can choose from nine bars and clubs, with each link leading to a separate page showing the location’s basic information, such as its age restriction, daily specials and a currently unactivated section for the live video feed.
“It’s just a one-stop shop,” said Sean Doran, BarView’s head of user technology. “So if you’re going out on a night, you won’t have to look for bars’ (Web) pages.”
The bars available in the demo version of the app include The Big Bar & Grill, Formaggio, The Little Bar, Scarlet and Grey Cafe, Charlie Bear, Kildare’s Irish Pub and Ugly Tuna Saloona.
Doran, who graduated from OSU in December with a degree in operations and logistics, said bars’ websites are typically lacking in information.
“Some bars’ websites are admittedly not the best in the world, so (the app’s purpose is) to help consolidate everything, instead of having to go to Yelp and Google Maps and what not,” Doran said.
Members of the team said they used personal interaction to gain information about the ever-changing daily specials offered at various bars.
“We definitely prefer to do the direct route,” Veleta said. “Because what it comes down to is the bartender is the one who’s charging you the price, so whatever they say is the goal for us.”
Mete Ozkazanc, BarView’s vice president and a fourth-year in operations and logistics, said everything was done in person.
“Every bar that’s on BarView now we’ve been to multiple times - countless times, actually – getting to know a lot of the managers,” Ozkazanc said.
The feature the team is most excited about is the live video feed, which will allow users to view in real time the action at each participating location from overhead cameras.
“The video feed is a really amazing feature that we somehow came up with and got to work,” Doran said. “I’ve never seen it been done before. There hasn’t yet been a really good way to share live video.”
However, BarView’s most exciting feature is also its biggest turn-off for managers at one of the spots that the app sought to feature.
Brian Dales, a manager at Fourth Street Bar & Grill, said the live broadcast video could make restaurant patrons uncomfortable.
“We thought it was a bad idea,” Dales said. “This is a place where people come to chill and hang out, and the thought that, hey, you’ve got video cameras on you streaming live video of you sitting there eating your meal would be weird for people.”
Despite being featured on BarView’s demo version, both Fourth Street Bar and Midway on High chose to withdraw from participating in the app on Friday.
Nonetheless, Ozkazanc said most managers they approached were on board with BarView.
“We talked to all the bar managers and basically all of them loved the idea,” Ozkazanc said.
Fadi Michael, owner of Formaggio on 13th Ave., said he thought BarView 614 would be good for business.
“I think it would help,” Michael said. “If I want to go out, I want to go out to the bars that are busier.”
He said that the live video feature of the app would be helpful to those wanting to know which campus spots were crowded and which ones weren’t so that they could choose where to go based on their mood for that night.
“People are different,” Michael said. “Some people want busier places, some want a more calm spot. This will help people make up their minds on where to go.”
An earlier version of this story implied the web application is an app available in the Apple App Store or Android Market. It is actually a mobile version of the BarView 614 website, not a smartphone app.