Londoners are spoiled for choice, but that doesn’t make planning easy. Between aggressive bouncers, lost reservations and a Tube that closes notoriously early, a night out in the UK capital can quickly turn cumbersome. Luckily, there are plenty of apps to plan outings from future concerts to real-time pub crawls. Here are some tried and true favorites to design your evening.
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Lamppost creator Dan Medlock (see below) uses this iOS/Android app to track when his favorite bands will play live. “It syncs with my iTunes library and push notifies me if bands I like announce tours,” he explains. Something to scream about-in a good way.
iPhone/Android/BlackBerry users can reserve tables at London’s hottest venues thanks to this app. Unlimited RSVP’s, directions via Google Maps and instant reservation confirmations will make queuing unacceptable (as if it already wasn’t).
The UK’s number one restaurant booking site lets iOS/Android users choose the neighborhoods they’d like to dine in, then create, amend and store bookings to their phones. Bookings can be added to mobile calendars or shared via Facebook or Twitter.
A tap of this app stores tickets for events, adding them to Passbook and offering up to 10 events happening that night, tailored by a team of experts. For Apple friendly visitors and residents, this app offers quick options for those who don’t know where to start.
On the Go
This iOS/Android app does more than connect with social networks-it acts as a live network for attendees at the same concert. Checking in at shows offers photos, videos and more from artists, while users can share media and comment on other check-ins in real time. Can’t come? No problem. CrowdStream lets you virtually check in to access live show streams.
The newest addition to the London nightlife market is a winner of the Cisco RAPTOR Small Grants Programme and launched in Camden last month. It benefits users and promoters alike: users can browse and buy tickets for local clubs, concerts, art exhibits and more in real time, while promoters receive user data to help them reach target markets. Currently on iOS only, it’s coming soon to Google Play.
Tourist or resident, the pub crawl’s a London must. This iPhone app sorts through 7,000 options to guide you to the top 160. Maps of all 40 pub crawls in the capital are offered alongside the best days and times for each, offline maps and a ‘Find nearest pub!’ button-all of which make this app a must have companion to a Sunday roast.
From Shoreditch to Brixton, this app — available on platforms from Android to Symbian — lets you browse over 850 categories including hotels and nightlife, read user reviews and earn your own recommendations. London’s one of 166,000 cities served, and with more than 2 million reviews, you’re bound to find a match.
Want to put a name to that thumping base? This iOS/Android gem IDs songs in seconds, offering options for track purchasing, streaming lyrics, YouTube videos and more. A personal favorite that provides song previews and YouTube footage, Shazam also uses the multi-screen approach-users at home can view extra content while watching TV.
As on-the-town apps go, they rarely come more comprehensive than this. The ‘restaurants nearby’ or ‘bars and pubs nearby’ GPS features find places to wine and dine quickly, acting as real time events listings. The ‘my iPod concerts’ feature on Time Out London’s iPhone app tells you when favorite artists will be in town, while Time Out for iPad will soon feature GPS-powered maps.
This London-based app, with presence in nine cities including Dublin and Toronto, is good. So good that it’s prepared to launch in NYC despite Taxi and Limousine Commission regulations known to kill m-hail apps in the Big Apple. Two taps to your iPhone or Android pay for a cab and email a receipt, leaving no need to wave your arm at 1 am.
Another London travel app poised to hit New York is GetTaxi, an app for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry that offers value for professionals as well as passengers. Licensed cab drivers looking for extra work can join the GetTaxi network for weekly work and average earnings of £21 per ride. For passengers, a flat 15% meter rate and 5% driver gratuity leave no questions about what you’ll pay to return home.
We’ve all been stranded on the London Bridge platform as the last train leaves. Luckily, The London Transport for iPhone app offers live departure boards, nearby stations, even licensed taxi bookings if that fateful train is missed.
Android users can access live TFL Tube and Countdown bus data using this app. The full version includes updates for Barclays Cycle Hire docking stations, service updates for Tube and bus routes and more.
Cocktail lovers, rejoice: this iPhone/Android/Windows app brings bartending to your mobile. Thousands of recipes and ingredients let you make any drink that suits your fancy. Not sure what you want? The ‘Random’ tab’s slot machine interface offers recipes based on liquor, glassware and more.