Raise a glass with GoTime's Happy Hour app

Here’s an un-fun fact: happy hours are illegal in the Republic of Ireland and banned in Glasgow, which means the rest of us have a duty to enjoy half-price chicken wings and $3 drafts on the behalf of those less fortunate. Here’s a more fun fact: it’s easier than ever to find a happy hour for any shindig, mixer, or circumstance with GoTime’s Happy Hour web app, which has details on more than 275,000 places in 107 different cities.

Whether you’re traveling for work, getting the layout of a new neighborhood, or need to find a wheelchair-accessible happy hour with karaoke and outdoor seating, GoTime can lend a hand. The web service helps you unearth the best drink and food specials in your city or neighborhood via straightforward search tools and detailed filters. The home page defaults to the current date and time and provides you with four example results of happy hours that are happening in your location, and also displays a list of filters to hone your search with as well as a list of neighborhoods to pick from.

When I attempted to find a good happy hour near my house after work, GoTime provided eight results, which were displayed in both list and in Google map form. All the results were bars and restaurants that I’m familiar with, and all were located within a short walk from my house. The results listed information on the name of the bar, the details on the happy hour, and the percentage and number of GoTime users who have “liked” the happy hour through the website. The left hand navigation displayed ways to further filter results by happy hour times, locations, types of food, types of places (like a pub or a dance club), features (like coat check options and DJs) , and dining options (like Take Out or Takes Reservations).

The ability to filter your search by almost any requirement imaginable is where GoTime shines; a long list of filters like Outdoor Seating, Fireplace, WiFi Access, and Pool Tables help find a happy hour for almost any need. The ratings system, however, didn’t impress me, because GoTime doesn’t display the results in any particular order; happy hours with an 83 percent "like" rate were shown ahead of those with a 100 percent rating. Also, there was no additional information on the ratings—does BurgerMeister have a 63 percent approval because it’s not a bar, because it doesn’t have great happy hour deals, or because of its surly waitstaff? I have no way of determining what criteria the establishments are being judged on, as “I like it” votes don’t include any additional details (although there is space for that in the One Liners section, and users can also “fan” an establishment, as well as indicate that they want to visit the establishment).

I was also a bit surprised at what didn’t show up in the results: when I did a search in the Outer Richmond, I received only one result—although I know of several other bars in the area that might also have happy hour offerings. When I did a search for one of them, the TeeOff, GoTime had basic information on the bar but didn’t have any reports of a happy hour there. Fair enough. Since GoTime relies on its staff, its media partners in each city (for example, New York results are powered by the Village Voice), its users, and business owners themselves to submit information for the database, there are some holes in their coverage. That being said, I found it nice that GoTime’s range extends past the usual metropolis’ (New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles), and includes smaller cities like Bend, Eugene, and San Luis Obispo.

There are the obligatory options to share your search results via Facebook, Twitter, or email—which is helpful for event planning—and GoTime also offers a free mobile app for iOS and Android users. One of the biggest disappointments is the inability to search multiple neighborhoods at once, something that would be extremely handy in a large city that has a slew of micro-nieghborhoods (like San Francisco and New York), and the inability to apply multiple filters at once. It is worth noting that these options are easily performed on the mobile app. Although the app would benefit from more information on a greater number of establishments (and some additional functionality on the web version), GoTime is overall a solid resource for finding deals on food and drinks, which is good news for anyone who doesn’t want to pay full price for a pint.

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