Yesterday I got a chance to meet with Justin Cunningham and Charles Bisland, the entrepreneurs behind Barhopolis (known locally as BarsBaltimore.com). Barhopolis is a website, Facebook app, and iPhone app that compiles all of the bars in a specific area, with daily updates of current specials and events going on at each of them. Essentially, it combines the power of Yelp and local event listings so you’re never without something to do. What makes Barhopolis uniqe is that the information about specials and events is provided by the bars themselves and updated daily (at 3 a.m.) to keep it fresh.
Annapolis natives Cunningham and Bisland came up with the idea for Barhopolis when they were over in Europe and wanted to be more informed about the bars around them. The conept is that locals and tourists alike can use Barhopolis to see what bars are around them, how they’ve been reviewed by others, and what the specific specials and events are. The site also allows users to join “VIP text clubs,” where they can receive exclusive specials at bars. Cunningham and Bisland are also looking into suggesting bars in other cities based on bars you like here in Baltimore. Currently, Barhopolis serves the Baltimore, Annapolis, D.C., Ocean City, Pittsburgh, and Raleigh areas.
It’s a pretty genius idea, as it provides users with the most informed and up-to-date bar hopping experience possible. While 20 percent of their users are tourists, Cunningham and Bisland explained that their main focus is to cater to locals. By giving locals all this information at their fingertips, they hope to provide the best nightlife experience possible. “We’re not trying to make every Tuesday night New Year’s Eve,” Bisland said. “We’re just trying to point out the local gems, and make every event they put on a little bit better.”