On The Town

Loople Allows Users to Find Local Bar and Restaurant Deals

We check in with the founders of the Baltimore-based mobile drinking app.

There’s nothing better than kicking back at an outdoor happy hour to celebrate the coming of spring, and as Charm City gears up for sunny skies and refreshing sips, Loople Mobile is making it easy to track the best deals.

The Baltimore-based startup, whose app recently eclipsed 9,000 downloads, compiles featured specials at more than 2,000 local bars and restaurants. The list can be filtered to fit specific criteria, allowing users to search for places offering everything from happy hour deals and outdoor seating to live music and trivia.

Loople is the brainchild of co-founders Dave Phelan, Philip DiMuro, and Ryan Gutleber, who chose Baltimore as the first city to launch in June 2015. Although not originally from the area (he and Phelan both hail from outside of Philadelphia), DiMuro says that he was instantly attracted to the city’s unique social scene upon moving here after graduating from Susquehanna University.

“Baltimore is this beautiful combination of an eclectic food scene with an active young demographic and incredible deals for nearly nothing,” he says. “It’s also such a friendly city; you can sit at a bar and immediately have a conversation with someone. That’s something you don’t get in other places.”

Adds Phelan: “We want locals to discover all of the hidden gems that they never knew existed. We realized that specials were available at 95 percent of the restaurants, but there was no easy way to figure out the information.”

In an effort to bridge the gap, Loople allows restaurants to submit their own specials, while also encouraging the users themselves to input information about their favorite spots.

“It’s very social-driven in that all of the information is being crowd-sourced from other residents,” says DiMuro. “Everyone has their five favorite local spots, but they might not know of the other five that someone else knows, so pulling all of that together is what really sets it apart.”

Currently, the free, GPS-based app targets bar-heavy neighborhoods like Federal Hill, Fells Point, Canton, and Towson. In addition to daily deals, the founders use the app to create guides for holidays and large-scale bar crawls. This month’s St. Patrick’s Day strolls, for example, are mapped out so that crawlers can see which bars are participating and what deals are being offered at any given time.

Looking ahead, the co-founders—currently a part of Emerging Technology Center’s incubator cohort Accelerate Baltimore—hope to branch out to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

In addition to their love for the local dining scene, Phelan and DiMuro are quick to mention the tight-knit tech startup community when discussing the app’s success over the past nine months.

“If I would have gone into it knowing how resourceful the area has been,” says DiMuro, “launching in Baltimore would have been such an easier decision.”