Once upon a time, bars were full of vaguely lonely people clamoring to sleep with and then ghost each other. Then, dating apps came into being, making it much easier for people to ignore each other at the bar, then swipe right later when they popped up on said app, for future ghosting. And now, a dating app wants to make the bar the dating app and the dating app the bar. I don’t care for this.
According to Bloomberg, Bumble—the “feminist” dating app that requires women to message their matches first—plans to open a space in New York City’s Soho neighborhood called Bumble Brew that would serve as a coffee shop in the daytime hours and a wine bar at night. Bumble wants the space to work as an IRL meeting spot for its dating app matches, as well as for folks who match on Bumble Bizz, its networking app, and Bumble BFF, which traffics in friendship matchmaking.
Never mind that there are 120,000 real bars in New York that could serve as a date, networking, or friendship-making spot. Branding is branding, and this branding involves “date-friendly” food. What’s that? It’s this:
Later in the day, the place will offer small plates designed specifically not embarrass people who are taking a meeting, be it romantic or business. There won’t be chicken wings or burgers dripping with special sauce. “No spaghetti—nothing that would be awkward on a first date,” confirms Ellis Roche.
(I take issue with this. Once, on a first date, a dude took me to an Italian restaurant because I’d just written a blog post about how much I loved pasta. It was one of my favorite first dates, mostly because I was eating pasta. It also resulted in many other dates with this person, so clearly spaghetti isn’t quite the repellent one might think. My personality, on the other hand, might be.)
It’s unclear when Bumble intends to inflict its dating bar upon New York, though do note that other cities might get their own Bumble Brews some day:
Bumble has plans to expand Bumble Brew. “Absolutely, this is a concept we want to roll out. We have big plans for Austin as well, but want to wait until we debut our new HQ/campus in 2020,” says Ellis Roche.
One day, all we’ll have left are the apps, and app-run spaces.