Milk: one of BarChick’s picks in Barcelona
Who is BarChick? A glamorous bikini model from the 1940s is what the logo seems to imply. For an old-school pin-up, she seems to have a finger on the pulse of the modern bar scene.
BarChick.com launched in 2010 to cover the London bar scene, but soon expanded to cover a range of other cities (it now covers 56 destinations in all), including Berlin, Sydney, Ho Chi Minh and Rio de Janeiro. Other UK cities have also been added: Oxford, Bath, Birmingham, Worcester, Manchester and more.
The site stands out for putting in the plenty of groundwork, picking its choices well and keeping content up to date through a team of on-the-ground reviewers. As a dedicated follower of bar fashions, it may not appeal to those who put emphasis on, say, ale and a comfy chair, but you can search under categories that appeal to you, such as “killer cocktails”, “roof terrace”, “people watching” etc. You can also search based on places you’d want to take your mates/client/date/mum.
Some of the destination overviews are a bit dubious (On Beirut: “The women are H-O-T and dress slutty”) and some cities are better covered than others, but you come for the insider tips rather than reviews packed with clever similes.
This week BarChick launches its new and improved app, which works on iPhones and, for the first time, Android. Its handiest tool is the “Near here” function, which not only tells you which bars are in your vicinity but now also gives you realtime updates on whether the venue is open or closed. There’s also a “What to order” button for house specialities, and a deals section that lists happy hours.
If you’ve ever travelled somewhere based on what you’ve heard about its nightlife, only to leave disappointed, then this could stop you falling into the same trap again. It’s also handy for use in your own backyard, if you happen to live in one of the destinations it covers. Further expansion is set to follow.
SpottedbyLocals.com: This site covers all aspects of travel, not just bars, and is written by a team of specially selected resident experts, who all speak the local language. It started by covering a few choice European cities, but, since its 2008 inception, has expanded to cover 54 cities destinations, all across the continent, and has recently launched in North America. There is also a Spotted by Locals app (iPhone and Android), which works offline to save those dreaded roaming bills.