is more than industry terminology (i.e. who's on the bar at Deep Ellum tonight?), it's also an app. That's right, pick your bartenders and find out when and where they're working on a given night to find them in action.
A simple, intuitive idea, how come I didn't think of it? Ok, hold off the jokes.
Luckily, the guys at onthebar did, and we have founders Ian Stanczyk and TJ Connelly to thank. The team is rounded out by Corey Bunnewith (industry advisor) and Anthony Roldan (software development), but I met up with just Ian over coffee the other day.
Born in Connecticutt, he began web building in the 90's when he was just 10 (personal computers didn't exist when I was 10, by the way), so he had a big head start when he got to Northeastern, also studying economics. After graduation he worked short-term with a software company and figured it was time for business school, got accepted, and prepared to enter Dartmouth for the fall term of 2011. The only thing in the way was a Summer off- 4 months, which I probably would have goofed around and gone to bars. Well, Ian did too, but his savvy parlayed into a great idea of how to find bartenders, in his case his Northeastern roommate, Ted Killpatrick, now of No. 9 Park.
"We grew up on the same street, were roommates, I dove into the bar world visiting where he worked- Radius or Sel de la Terre at the time. I thought how great it would be if he had a button on his phone when pressed would let me know he was working… It was maybe selfish, but I wanted kind of a 'bat signal' alerting me." The app now tells a bartender the 'bat signal' has been sent when they sign in.
Ian first called the app Bostonflip after his favorite drink Ted made him, and didn't want it to fall through the cracks when he went off to school. Enter the awesome TJ Connelly, who people had been telling Ian he had to meet, and did, over brunch at Toro, and prepared to hand off the baton. I've got a feeling a lot of great things have happened over brunch at Toro. Turns out TJ had been thinking of a similar platform- a match made perfect sense. At the 11th hour, the night before heading off to school, his eureka moment happened, and he stayed, all in. The team revamped the name, and the rest is history. "Grass roots, it heightens one's relationship and experience with a bartender," Ian says, "they are often the face of an establishment." Presently the focus is Boston, but bartenders from New York, Providence, Portland, Arizona and San Francisco use it. I love onthebar's nonjudgmental nature where there's no rating system, any and all bartenders may use it from local joints to high end lounges, a level playing field.
Download the app, if you're a customer, bartender or both, find when and where people are working- I use every night, if you can call what I do work.
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