Uptown Social

Inside Uptown Social on King Street, on King Street between Cannon and Spring, on Aug. 26, 2018. Wade Spees/Staff

A new app from a Charleston outfit promises to give bar goers a real-time glimpse into venues they might patronize, but it won’t last long or come into focus.

“I’m not doing my partners any favors if I give users an opportunity to stare (at customers) all night long,” says BarGlance lead developer Jason Harris, who’s pitching the app as an advertising platform for bars along King Street and beyond. “It’s a seven-second, low-resolution stream, so you can’t get facial recognition.”

Among the 14 bars that have already installed BarGlance cameras are Uptown Social, El Jefe and Juanita Greenberg’s.

In addition to the blurred images of bars, which are supposed to give users an idea of whether they’ll have trouble finding open seats, BarGlance listings include an address, hours and targeted promotions if bar owners decide to offer them as an off-peak lure for BarGlancers. The app can track users’ movements, so it’s relatively easy to gauge the success of come-in come-ons.

While the app duplicates much of what’s already available through various mapping and review apps, founder and CEO Justin Moss predicts the camera will differentiate BarGlance in the crowded app marketplace.

“There’s no one anywhere doing live stream, to my knowledge,” he says. “So that is our value proposition.”

According to Moss, “going out remains one of the least technology-driven sectors.” But that’s not for lack of effort on the part of developers.

When Charleston’s Anthony Milici last year launched BarFrog, a mobile payment system designed to allow customers to cash out without a bartender’s help, his app was forced to compete with TABu, Tally, My Tab, Tabbed Out, Qkr! and Radtab, which was also created by a College of Charleston student. Other available nightlife apps consolidate drink dealscolor-code bars based on crowd size, offer points toward VIP service, connect users with events where they can drink for free (or get paid to drink), and teach the latest dance steps.

Yet none of the apps created specifically to enhance the bar-going experience has proven as revolutionary as Resy in the dining sphere. “The industry is just starting to understand these tools,” Milici told The Post and Courier around the time of BarFrog’s debut.

BarFrog’s web address now brings up an error page. Milici didn’t return a message seeking comment.

For more information about BarGlance, visit barglance.com.

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

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