UrbanDrinks.com – It’s happy hour somewhere

When I first looked at the Portland Start-up Index, one of the websites that stuck out right away was UrbanDrinks.com – for obvious reasons, I’m sure – sitting at 14th for December 2007. On first look, the site seemed a little plain, with most of my attention being drawn to the I ‘heart’ Bacon banner. Sporting a seemingly standard Google maps mash-up and no clear message as to what the site might be about jumping out at me, I was losing interest, but as instructed, I selected a city, Portland, and continued to investigate.

The further you get into the site, the more you can appreciate that there are some important details that were not overlooked when the site was developed. They offer a slurry of standard features: account sign-up and log-in, an RSS feed for recent reviews of bars/pubs, a link for inviting people, and a link for feedback. The link to what’s new on the site gives some of the more in-depth features, like Build your own pub crawl, and as I poke around the site more, I’m impressed by the time taken to break down the cities into local districts (as of 2007-06-16) and the inclusion of a clock in the top corner that’s time zone-friendly.

On the district profile page, like Northwest Columbus, Ohiowhere I ended up, there’s a slick day planner-esque display of all the local establishments that have a happy hour that day, what time that happy hour is, contact information, and a (Google) map to the place. You can easily navigate to different days and different districts to see what’s going on, and each location can be tagged, reviewed, and voted on.

Although I was satisfied with the experience, I still questioned the site in general, and moved on to the ‘About‘ page to find out more about the company.

Did you know that Portland, Oregon is the greatest happy hour city in the world? It’s then only natural that the greatest happy hour website was also born here. UrbanDrinks.com is the work of a small group of friends who have made it their mission to provide you with the most up-to-date happy hour information.

Not only did I not know that Portland, Oregon is the greatest happy hour city in the world – not that Google necessarily thinks so – I didn’t know it was a small group of friends’ mission to provide me with the most up-to-date happy hour information. But assuming it is the greatest happy hour city in the world, it would make sense that the greatest happy hour website was born there. My biggest recommendation to the site would be to make it more aesthetically pleasing graphically (this page, for example, really needs some TLC), but they team definitely nailed the navigation and site design, which is more important. Would probably benefit from a Facebook app if it was done as well as the site was, but definitely a solid idea and solid design.

It’s difficult to give specific competition as the site has selected a fairly unique niche, but based on the feature-set, everything from Facebook and MySpace to Evite and Upcoming.org would potentially be considered as being in the same arena. A difficult group to contend with, but it’s definitely possible to create a following; with these types of sites, content is king.