barhappyMy situation was as follows:

I know a fair amount about Molly. (Not the drug, a woman named Molly. Though, I do also know a decent amount about the drug. Not from experience and not because I listen to Miley Cyrus songs. I read the articles my mom sends me re: how certain drugs will undoubtedly kill me if I consume them.)

First, Molly is pretty. Really pretty. Too pretty for me? (Mom would say no). At least she is if she is the person that I have been corresponding with via Plenty of Fish for the past two weeks or so. I also know: Molly’s profession, her favorite movies, her religion (though, she is not serious about it).I know she enjoys a good workout, and that she digs some of the same films, music, television shows and books that I do. And that red wine is one of the six things Molly claims she cannot live without.

However, there is something imperative that I don’t know: where Molly would like to go on a first date. In which venue she would like our first in-real-life meeting to take place. Oh, the pressure.

Surprise me! She writes.

Why do women do this?

Just make sure they serve alcohol, and food, and if we can do Midtown, that’d be awesome because I can come right after work. Something casual. So this is not so much about surprise, as it is a test.

The test being: how cool is Scott? Is he able to pick out a rad, casual place in which to begin his wooing attempts?

I’m totally on board with the first two, I love both of these things, but I have exactly three hours to do my research and make the plan, or else postpone our meeting until the next night we are both free. Which could be never. She might meet a dude at her favorite bar this weekend, and then delete my number from her phone and her profile from the Internet, leaving me wondering what could have been if I had just been a decisive man and been like “Let’s meet HERE and get to know each other face-to-face.”

So time is of the essence, and I am relatively new in New York City, and I live in Brooklyn, which means I am completely uneducated re: where you go in a place like Midtown if you would like to take a girl out for some drinks and a nice relaxing dinner.

I text a number of my local female friends in hopes one can provide an upscale but not creepily romantic place to eat good food and to drink wine in Midtown. No dice. New York City is a large place, and these women have not circumnavigated the five boroughs on a bunch of Internet-enabled dates. (I question why I am even friends with them. They are of no use to me.)

I’ve got two hours left. I dread Molly’s, maybe another time, text.

Enter barHappy, a website and iPhone app where I can enter what I am looking for (like pizza, cheap beer, or you know, wine and Midtown).

According to its website, barHappy is a free online community of bars, restaurants, and clubs in major cities across the United States. The goal is to provide users with the “most reliable and up-to-date information on their city’s nightlife.” You can use different search criteria to narrow down your options based on precisely what you’re looking for whether it’s a certain food, drink, event or activity. There are also recommended outings proposed for your city of residence, and you have the ability to leave reviews of venues to let people know how you really feel about a place.

I peruse barHappy’s offerings, settle on three finalists, and make my decision from there. I settle on a place called Vero Midtown at 53rd and 2nd. I text Molly and tell her that we should go to Vero, that I hear good things.

Why Vero?

Because:

  • It came up when I searched barHappy for “wine” in Midtown
  • The menu is full of options: animal, fish, gluten-free– just in case Molly is into that
  • It looked classy, but also casual—like the kind of place that would impress Molly
  • They have this Wine Lovers Special Mondays-Saturdays where you can cop wine with a Panini and/or a salad for ONLY $17. I’m not cheap, but neither is New York

Molly and I meet at Vero. Sparks fly. We drink merrily and share some gnosh. We drink more.

We kiss at the end of the date—purple lips meeting purple lips. It is magical. She agrees to see me again. I do Snoopy Dances on my way home.

Since this instance, I have used barHappy several times in an effort to convince folks that I know the cool places to go in the city in which I live, even if I really don’t.