We have some whippersnappers who read this website, so if you’re not among them, please bear with me while I briefly explain how dating used to work before smartphones and the internet. So kids, you’d meet a person out in the real world, like at the department store (it was a place people used to go to buy things before Amazon). Then, you’d have to ask for their phone number and call them—with your voice—on a phone. Sometimes you’d leave a message on a recorder, a device you may recognize from the plots of old rom-coms.
That’s all gone the way of horse-and-buggies and gramophones, as apps make initial contact and interaction with potential dates more efficient and often less nerve-wracking. But one app, Bumble, has realized there’s value in those old-fashioned, alcohol-enhanced meetings, and plans to go retro by opening its own bar in NYC this fall. Bloomberg reports Bumble Brew will be a coffeeshop by day, wine and small-plates bar by night. Those small plates, by the way, are designed to be date-appropriate, so no messy nachos or saucy wings. “No spaghetti—nothing that would be awkward on a first date,” Bumble’s chief of staff Caroline Ellis Roche tells Bloomberg. In line with its message of empowering women—in heterosexual matches, the app requires women to take the first digital step—Bumble’s bar will also host networking events and pop-ups featuring women chefs.
The bar came about because Ellis Roche says Bumble users crave “experiences,” which is usually a word brands toss around to explain why they’re taking over everything from music festivals to vacations. But the Bumble bar might have legs; at the very least, it encourages daters to get out of their DMs and into a real conversation. The app tells Bloomberg it hopes to expand to other cities, especially Austin, in the coming years.